Vaughan Divorce Lawyers
The divorce process in Ontario can be as variable as each family’s unique circumstances. There are many methods available to separated couples to resolve their family law disputes and seek a final divorce. It can be overwhelming to determine the best path to take in the emotional wake of a marriage breakdown.
The divorce lawyers at GDH Family Law help clients navigate the divorce process by developing out-of-the-box legal solutions tailored to their families’ needs. We understand that a final divorce order can eliminate uncertainty after a separation and help spouses move forward with their lives. We provide proactive, reliable legal advice, so our clients are empowered to make effective, informed decisions throughout the divorce process.
The Divorce Process in Ontario
Divorce matters in Ontario generally follow the same legal process, although the timeline and various steps within that process vary depending on each case’s circumstances. Therefore, you should contact a qualified divorce lawyer to determine how the process may be expected to look for your case.
- Separation: One or both spouses decide to separate and begin living separate and apart (in certain circumstances, this can include parties residing under the same roof).
- Separation Agreement: If possible, the spouses reach an agreement on as many outstanding issues as possible and create a separation agreement. Any issues that cannot be resolved by way of a separation agreement can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration, or via the commencement of a court Application. If all issues are resolved via a separation agreement, either party may file an Application for an uncontested and/or simple divorce.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: As required by the Divorce Act, the parties need to explore alternative dispute resolution methods to try to resolve their outstanding issues. This can be done at various stages of the divorce process and may include negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
- Application: Either party may file an Application with the court. The Application sets out all claims and relief the party is seeking in relation to parenting, child support, spousal support, property division, and other related issues. A sworn Financial Statement and other documentation may also be required for filing purposes. The Application and accompanying documentation is then served on the other party.
- Answer and Reply: After service of the Application, the respondent spouse has 30 days to file their response (Answer) and if needed, their Financial Statement and other documentation. If an Answer is filed, and the applicant spouse does not agree with the facts or claims within it, they have the option of filing a Reply.
- Case Conference: Once the pleadings (the Application, Answer, and Reply, if applicable) are filed, the court schedules a case conference. The parties attend the case conference and determine if any issues can be settled. The case conference judge may also direct certain procedural steps, along with timelines, and schedule another case conference.
- Motion: After the first case conference, a spouse can bring a motion for a temporary order to deal with any issues that need to be resolved, for example, interim child or spousal support or parenting arrangements. Motions may also need to be brought in other parts of the court process if one spouse is not complying with their legal obligations (such as a court order or the financial disclosure requirements under the law).
- Disclosure Exchange and Questioning: Parties must exchange all relevant information in their possession. This includes up-to-date financial disclosure (e.g. bank statements, tax returns, property or business valuations) and documents relating to parenting matters. The spouses may also be required to answer questions from the other side’s lawyer outside of court.
- Settlement Conference: If there are still unresolved disputes between the spouses, they may be required to attend a settlement conference. The conference judge will again explore any possible settlement of the issues. Any resolved matters may be documented in an agreement between the parties or set out in a court order. If the parties still cannot resolve their outstanding issues, the matter will proceed to trial.
- Trial Management/Scheduling Conference: The trial management/scheduling conference ensures all procedural matters have been dealt with and the case is ready for trial. The conference judge will also determine whether there is any chance of settlement.
- Trial: At trial, the judge hears both parties’ evidence and legal arguments and makes a binding decision (including the order for divorce). If one or both spouses disagree with the decision, they may consult with legal counsel to determine whether there are grounds for an appeal.
- Motions to Change: As circumstances change for the parties and their children over time, they may be required to bring a motion to change the terms of an existing order (e.g. variations to child support or spousal support, or to change parenting time or decision-making responsibilities). The steps in the Motion to Change are procedurally similar to the Application process.
Bespoke Legal Solutions for Your Divorce
While the legal requirements for a divorce are similar across all cases, the steps taken along the way vary depending on the complexity of the issues between the parties.
GDH Family Law understands that the personal nature of these issues requires equally personal solutions. We reject a “one size fits all” approach to divorce and instead create legal solutions that are as unique as your family. Our team has dedicated their careers to the practice of family law and delivers results for clients in a variety of dispute resolution processes.
À La Carte Divorce Services for Flexible Support
We recognize clients may not need our support at all stages of their divorce. As a result, GDH Family Law provides flexible legal options that match the complexity of your case and your financial means.
We offer unbundled stand-alone legal services if you only require a lawyer for one part of your divorce. These include:
- Review, negotiating, or drafting interim agreements such as parenting plans;
- Providing a legal opinion on one or more issues in dispute;
- Representation in an alternative dispute resolution process such as arbitration or mediation;
- Assistance during settlement negotiations; or
- Drafting court materials.
Alternatively, you may prefer us to handle all aspects of your case. Our full-service representation allows you to focus on adjusting to the new family dynamic, comforted by the knowledge that your divorce is in capable hands. Our comprehensive divorce services include:
- Drafting and reviewing all agreements and plans;
- Representation in settlement negotiations and case conferences;
- Assistance with alternative dispute resolutions processes, including mediation and arbitration;
- Preparation for and representation at trial.
Our contemporary approach to the divorce process ensures you receive as much or as little assistance as you want or need.
Compassionate & Responsive Divorce Services
GDH Family Law offers proactive, reliable legal advice and advocacy in a variety of divorce proceedings, including:
The Divorce Act requires parties to explore alternative dispute resolution processes for settling their outstanding family law disputes. Our team identifies the best forum to address your needs and family dynamic, and develops a tailor-made, personalized legal strategy to deliver results.
Contact GDH Family Law in Vaughan for Assistance With Your Divorce
GDH Family Law understands the emotional impact of a marriage’s breakdown and the upheaval of the family dynamic. We provide as much support as you need throughout the divorce process so you can dedicate your time and energy to moving forward with your life. Our established experience and contemporary approach allow us to create customized, practical legal solutions that deliver results for you and your family.
GDH Family Law is an innovative boutique family law firm helping clients in Vaughan (including Maple, Concord, Woodbridge, Kleinburg) and throughout the surrounding areas, including Markham, Richmond Hill, Nobleton, Toronto, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York, Thornhill, and King City. For a free initial consultation about your divorce, call 416-535-6944 or reach out online.