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Kitchener Family Lawyer

Our divorce lawyers help clients navigate the emotional, financial and legal issues of divorce.

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What to expect from a family lawyer

Learn the steps required to start the divorce process, including how our Kitchener family lawyer can help.

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The Initial Family Law Consultation

When confronted with thoughts of pursuing a divorce, many people dread making that first call to a lawyer. That initial call and consultation with a divorce lawyer from our legal team doesn’t mean that you’ve finally made a commitment to leave your partner. It could simply be the first step to gathering any information you might need.

Our advice – take a deep breath and relax. Relationships have different dynamics, and it’s okay to review your options and determine the best way forward. If you ever need to make that call, our divorce lawyers will always be here to listen and advise. During the initial consultation, we will take the time to examine your options and provide the necessary information you need to decide what’s best for you. When you talk to our divorce lawyers, know that everything you say will be kept strictly confidential. Should you decide to pursue a divorce, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you navigate the process. Please call our family lawyers on 519. 840.0853 or book the call online.

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Identifying the Next Steps

There are two main ways to resolve the issues in your divorce in Kitchener – collaborative or out of court settlement or going to court and getting a judge’s Order. At M & Co. Law Firm, we’ve met many people who are fixed on taking the case to trial even though a settlement would be the best option for them. We have experienced divorce lawyers to guide our clients to pursue the best option for them.

Even though most divorce cases settle, it might be better to pursue a trial for your divorce. This is often an option that our lawyers recommend whenever it’s impossible to negotiate a fair settlement. It’s also not uncommon to begin with one process and end up pursuing the other. For instance, a divorce case may begin with negotiation and become impossible to settle fairly, respectfully, and effectively. In such a case, your divorce lawyers may recommend going to trial.

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What is Collaborative Law, and How does it Work?

If you would like to get a divorce but avoid the lengthy and costly court process, consider collaborative law. Our family lawyers recommend the collaborative law approach as a great alternative that helps minimize the emotional burden and time required to arrive at a mutually agreeable decision.

Collaborative law results in a legally binding contract that both parties agree to. This process is designed to minimize conflict and to be non-adversarial, which simply means that the ex-partners have agreed to work together in good faith with the help of highly experienced collaborative lawyers and third-party specialists.

First things first, both parties will be required to form a collaborative team. This team will oversee the divorce/separation journey until a mutually agreeable decision is reached. Each party will be responsible for hiring a collaborative lawyer who is professionally trained and certified in leading this process. Both parties will then come together and hire a family professional who is often a social worker paid a joint retainer. The family professional is an integral part of the process, especially in divorces where children are involved. He/she will meet the children and make the interview process as friendly as possible.  The parties will also work with a financial professional who will help the couple collect their financial facts which is required before negotiations can begin.

Parties who agree on the collaborative law approach must sign a contract that stipulates their commitment to negotiate in good faith and avoid the trial process. At the initial meeting, the collaborative lawyers and professional neutrals will meet without the spouses present to agree on the way forward. They will also set a date for the mandatory meeting where the entire collaborative team, including the spouses, will be present. 

During the mandatory meeting, all parties that are present will engage in negotiations, and a list of issues will be discussed. There are several approaches to make these collaborative meetings more productive such as tackling the simpler issues at the beginning and then moving on to the more complex ones at the end. 

Once the entire team meets, the collaborative lawyers and professionals will meet again without the spouses to debrief and set an agenda for the next meeting. The sessions will continue until an agreement is reached and all issues are addressed. Once all matters are acceptably resolved, and the two parties agree, both lawyers will meet again to start working on the legally binding document for review. The process will only be considered complete after the document is signed. The main advantages of the collaborative law process are that it can be less time-consuming, less costly and eliminates the need for public disclosure on your private divorce and separation matters, as is the case with court proceedings. 

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How Long Does the Collaborative Law Process Take in Our Law Society?

When embarking on the collaborative law process, one of the primary concerns that often looms large is the timeline and cost associated with it. It’s crucial to recognize that the collaborative approach is tailored to the unique circumstances of each case, and as a result, the time it takes can vary significantly from one situation to another. The determinants of how much time and money you invest in the collaborative process hinge on the extent to which the couples can effectively collaborate and the overall synergy within the collaborative team. At our firm, we have had the privilege of assisting numerous clients who have chosen the collaborative law route as a means to steer clear of the arduous and costly courtroom battles. For many of these clients, the decision to opt for collaboration is driven by a desire to preserve their relationships, especially when children are involved. It is remarkable to witness how this approach has not only led to the resolution of legal matters but has also significantly reduced the emotional stress that often accompanies the process of divorce. Furthermore, one of the standout advantages of the collaborative law process is its potential to expedite the division of family assets, particularly when one or both spouses are in urgent need. The traditional court proceedings can escalate into prolonged and expensive battles, exacerbating emotional distress. In contrast, the collaborative approach aims to streamline the process, offering a more efficient and compassionate way to resolve these matters. The collaborative process involves a team of professionals, including lawyers, financial experts, and mental health professionals, working collaboratively to help couples reach mutually beneficial agreements. This multidisciplinary approach allows for a comprehensive assessment of each case and enables the parties involved to address not only legal issues but also emotional and financial aspects. By fostering open communication and cooperation, the collaborative team helps couples find creative solutions to their disputes, often resulting in quicker resolutions. Fundamentally, the essence of collaborative work with your spouse and other professionals lies in gaining a degree of control over your future and that of your children. Courts may render decisions that do not align with your best interests or fail to adequately address the needs of your ex-partner or children. Collaborative law, on the other hand, empowers you to influence the timeline of decision-making, enabling you to move forward with your life on your terms. In terms of financial considerations, it’s important to be prepared for an expenditure ranging between $20,000 and $30,000 throughout the collaborative law process, which typically spans a duration of 15 to 20 months. However, it’s worth emphasizing that these figures are contingent on the willingness and ability of the parties involved to cooperate and engage constructively in addressing the issues at hand. In essence, the collaborative law process not only offers a more flexible and amicable path to resolution but also allows for a degree of cost control, making it a viable option for those seeking to navigate the complexities of family law with efficiency and compassion.

Types of Divorce in Kitchener?

The divorce process can take two main approaches: Contested and uncontested divorce.

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Contested Divorce

If parties are unable to agree on all the issues raised in the divorce, including children-related matters and financial obligations, it becomes a contested divorce. Even if parties agree on everything apart from a single issue, the divorce will still be considered contested. Contested divorce proceedings become even more complex when children are involved. Spouses who end their relationship on bad terms will often end up in a contested divorce battle. Most of what the couple disagrees about includes:
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Parenting arrangements (Decision making)
  • Custody matters (Parenting time)
  • Division of assets
Just because you are pursuing a contested divorce doesn’t mean the case has to go to trial. Out-of-trial settlements may still be an option for you to get the issues raised addressed amicably without the lengthy trial process.

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Uncontested Divorce

A divorce can be relatively easy to pursue when it is uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties come to an agreement on the issues raised in the divorce. This means that divorce can be granted without taking the matter to court.

Keep in mind that a divorce will automatically become uncontested if a spouse is served with divorce papers but chooses not to respond within a given time period. The court perceives that failure to file an answer means that the spouse agrees to the issues raised, and the divorce becomes uncontested. 

 The uncontested divorce process is a much smoother and quicker option to pursue divorce. It also takes less money on legal fees. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When you begin the journey of pursuing a divorce, the actions you take going forward may dictate the outcome of the process. Some actions can make your divorce proceedings a little more difficult and hence should be avoided. Let’s go over a few things you should not do during a divorce:

  • Providing information about the divorce process in public forums like social media 
  • Proving to your ex that you’ve moved on by showing off the new partner even to your children
  • Making large purchases or selling your property or cars before the divorce is finalized
  • Taking steps not to disclose all your assets, such as hiding them from your lawyer
  • Failing to remain calm, especially during negotiations with your ex

Is there an ideal time to contact a divorce lawyer? The sooner the better.  As soon as you start contemplating pursuing a divorce or separation, you should contact a family lawyer. Whether you just started thinking about separating from your partner after noticing some changes in your relationship or your spouse has already expressed their desire to get a divorce, having that initial consultation with a lawyer can help you get the information you need early. The sooner you make that call, the better off you will be to ensure the process is well-handled by a professional right from the start.

The divorce process can take a toll on your emotions and finances, to say the least. It makes sense to take your time and find a divorce lawyer who will walk you through the process and ease the emotional and financial burden it brings. You want a lawyer who not only comes with the skill and experience to fight for your best interests but also educates you on your rights and options. When you begin performing due diligence on potential divorce lawyers, here are a few questions you should ask:

  • Which area of law does your practice specialize in?
  • Have you handled divorce matters similar to mine?
  • How do you communicate with the client while pursuing a divorce case?
  • Are there any challenges or concerns you anticipate from what you know so far about my divorce case?

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The goal of collaboratively family law is to allow those who are in the middle of a divorce or separation, to work in a collaborative manner with …

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Divorce

Divorce is about moving forward and starting a new chapter. If you have settled all your other matrimonial issues or you are just starting the process, we are here to help.

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Separation Agreements

If you and your spouse are in agreement on the terms of your separation, you are free to put your decisions into a separation agreement…

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At M & Co. Law Firm, we understand the importance of finding the right fit for your representation. We take the time to get to know our clients and create a strategic plan that will help them to move forward and make a positive change in their lives. Get in touch so we can learn more about your goals and how we can help you reach them.

Anna-Marie Musson, Managing Lawyer – Toronto

Recent Google Reviews

5.0 stars | 10 reviews

Working for Musson Law has been a refreshing experience. Very seldom does one find a work environment as supportive, connected, and dynamic as this. The people are great, the culture; amazing. I am encouraged to work on myself and my personal development. And clients are treated with care, empathy, and respect. A firm that truly is people-driven.
— Jane Chirwa
Musson Law is a great place to work. The environment is supportive and structured to help nurture group and individual growth and success. Our non-hierarchical team model fosters open communication and collaborative work. Here at Musson, every employee is truly valued for their contributions.
— Tanys Insley
Thank you so much. You guys have been amazing to work with.
— Henriette Jacobson
I just want to let you know that I am very happy to have you in my corner. Your support and knowledge has been invaluable. You have my sincerest thanks.
— J. K.
I really appreciate your team's support and professionalism during this delicate process. I wish you the best for the upcoming year and beyond
— M. D.

Our latest media appearances

From appearances in the local news to The Modern Divorce Show podcastwe got you covered…

Latest articles on our blog

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