Toronto Divorce Lawyer
No one says “I do” with the expectation of divorce in the future. Marriages can break down for a variety of reasons. If you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways, a Toronto divorce lawyer can help protect your rights and guide you through the process of finalizing your divorce.
Why Do I Need a Toronto Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce is a complicated and emotional process. Even if you and your spouse are cooperative and amiable, it is advisable that you speak with a divorce lawyer in Toronto.
Even in an uncomplicated divorce, there are legal documents that need to be filled out and filed properly as well as deadlines that need to be met.
A lawyer will explain the process, what you can expect, and protect your rights along the way.
Types of Toronto Divorce
There are two main types of divorce in Toronto:
A contested divorce occurs when spouses disagree on some or all issues raised in the divorce. Disagreeing on just a single issue will categorize the divorce as contested.
A divorce may be contested for various reasons. It’s not uncommon for spouses to disagree on several issues, particularly when children are involved and if the couple is ending their relationship on a bad note.
Divorcing spouses often have disagreements about:
When a divorce is contested, you do not have to immediately file in court. Mediation and out-of-court settlements are excellent options we can use to try to resolve your matter without filing for a contested divorce.
If you are still unable to resolve, spouses must file court documents stating their positions on the disputed issues.
Contested divorces are typically more drawn out than uncontested divorces. The length of time to finalize the divorce will largely depend on the nature of the disagreements and the willingness of the parties to come to a resolution.
If spouses are unable to come to an agreement on all of the issues, the case may have to go to trial. The vast majority of divorces are settled before the case reaches this point.
An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all issues that are raised in the divorce. When spouses are in agreement, courts will typically finalize the divorce without requiring a court appearance.
A divorce becomes “uncontested” when the spouse that has been served chooses not to file an Answer within the required time period. Failure to file an Answer automatically makes the divorce uncontested.
Uncontested divorces move much quicker than contested divorces, and they can save divorcing couples money on legal fees.
Here’s What You Can Expect from the Divorce Process
Divorce is a multi-step process that largely depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In either case, the marriage is not officially over until a judge grants a divorce order.
Because the divorce process is complex and must be carried out carefully, it is in your best interest to speak with a Toronto divorce lawyer. A lawyer can help guide you through the process and help you find the best course of action to protect your rights.
Filing an Application for Divorce and Financial Statement
The first step in the process is to file an Application for Divorce. This form, which must be filed with the court, will set out your claims in the divorce.
Serving Your Spouse
After filing the Application for Divorce, a process server will deliver copies of the papers to your spouse and legal counsel. You will also need to file an Affidavit of Service.
Answer and Financial Statement
Once your spouse and his/her lawyer have received the Application, your spouse will have 30 days to file an Answer and his/her financial statement.
If your spouse does not respond within the allotted time period, the divorce will be considered “uncontested.” In this case, the court may grant the claims being sought in the Application without requiring the spouses to appear in court.
If your spouse does file an Answer, you have the option of filing a Reply. This step is not required, and you only have 10 days to reply, but it provides you with an opportunity to respond to any claims or allegations you disagree with.
If you do not file a Reply, the case will move on to the next step.
At this stage, all parties and their lawyers must appear in court in front of the judge. This is an informal meeting during which lawyers and the judge will discuss the disputes and attempt to find resolutions. Financial disclosure requests may also be made.
During this stage, both parties exchange information that supports or disproves their respective claims, such as:
- Financial information (bank statements, tax returns, etc.)
- Assessments of custody issues.
- Questioning occurs e when either party must answer questions under oath.
During a Settlement Conference, both parties and their lawyers will meet with the judge and attempt to settle unresolved issues.
If both parties can come to an agreement on disputed issues, the terms of that agreement will be included in an Order.
The court may grant the divorce if it is satisfied with the resolution and that the appropriate child support is being paid.
If there are unresolved issues at this stage, the divorce will go to trial.
If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, the matter will go to trial and the judge will make the final decision.
Finding the Right Toronto Divorce Lawyer for You and Your Family
If your marriage has broken down and divorce is the only solution, call our Toronto divorce lawyer. Divorces are complex, and you may be feeling a whirlwind of emotions. An experienced divorce lawyer will explain your rights and help guide you through the process to find a fair resolution.
Ready to take the first step? — Schedule a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you not do during a divorce?
Divorce proceedings can be a very stressful time, and taking certain actions while in the midst of these proceedings can often make things worse. Here is some advice for actions you should avoid during a divorce:
- Posting about your divorce on social media
- Flaunting a new relationship in front of your ex or your children
- Selling or purchasing cars or property (or other expensive items)
- Hiding assets or other information from your lawyer
- Losing your temper during discussions with your ex
When should I first contact a divorce lawyer in Toronto?
You should contact a divorce lawyer as soon as you think you may need one! Whether that means you have begun to notice challenges in your marriage you think will be insurmountable, or if you have already had the conversation with your spouse and have decided a divorce is the best decision, a lawyer can help with every step of the process. The sooner you begin to work with a Toronto divorce lawyer, the better off you will be because they will be able to run the whole process smoothly for you from the get-go.
How do I choose a Toronto divorce lawyer?
Choosing a divorce lawyer is an important step that will lay the groundwork for the entire process you are about to face. You want to know that your Toronto divorce lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for your best interests. When speaking with potential lawyers, here are a few questions you can ask in order to get to know them better:
- Does your practice focus on family law?
- What experience do you have with divorces similar to mine?
- How will we communicate throughout the divorce process?
- Based on what you know about my situation what challenges do you think I might possibly run into?