Divorce Lawyers in Toronto Fighting for Your Rights
While no one gets into a relationship hoping for a divorce, the truth is that many marriages end there. Divorce may be unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared. If you are considering a divorce or have just found out that your partner is filing to end the marriage, it’s vital that you speak with a family law lawyer as soon as possible. To help you get a better understanding of the divorce process and what you need to know, we’ve answered some of the frequent questions we get from potential clients below.
Divorce is an emotional process, and it can be difficult to deal with the legal system when you are just trying to keep your head above water. Talk to an experienced divorce lawyer when you contact our firm to find out what services we offer and how we can make the divorce process easier.
What Do Divorce Lawyers Do?
Representing you during a divorce is one of the main legal services that family law lawyers provide. Divorce is classified as a family law matter under the Ontario court system, and a divorce lawyer is someone who has the special skills, tools, and experience to represent you through the process. Here are a few things to expect from a divorce lawyer.
Help You Understand Your Rights
One of the main roles of a family lawyer is to help you understand what rights and provisions are outlined in the Ontario laws. There are specific guidelines for how family law cases are handled, including how long you have to wait to file for divorce, how property is divided, and what happens with child support and custody.
A family law lawyer meets with you to discuss the specific circumstances of your case. Once they understand the basics of your situation, they can walk you through your rights, what you may be entitled to, and how to start the legal process of divorce. For example, an lawyer may be able to tell you that you are eligible for spousal support for a certain amount of time, depending on how long you were married. If you weren’t aware of that, you could miss out on the opportunity to have those payments and ease some of the financial burdens as you transition from married to single life.
Set Expectations for the Divorce Process
A family law lawyer can also help you better understand what to expect during the divorce process. When you first let people know that you are filing for divorce, it’s normal to get a lot of advice and stories about what happened to other people. But no two divorces are the same, and what to expect as far as the timeline and legal guidelines differs depending on your circumstances. For example, a friend might tell you that it only took two months for their divorce to go through, but if that was an uncontested divorce and you end up in a contested divorce with a custody battle, the timeline is going to be much longer.
Represent Your Interests
When you go through the legal system, it’s important to remember that the courts are not necessarily worried about your rights and interests. It’s your job to file the appropriate paperwork, make the petitions, and argue for your position. However, that can be very difficult to do when you are representing yourself, especially if the other party has retained counsel. Navigating a divorce case requires an in-depth knowledge of the family court system, and that’s why it’s so important to have an lawyer from a family law group looking out for your rights and interests.
What Is Involved in the Divorce Process?
When it comes to divorce proceedings, there are several steps that most cases go through. While it’s best to talk with a family lawyer to find out which specific steps you can anticipate for your case, we’ve provided a basic outline of the divorce process below.
The first step in the divorce process–other than determining that it is the right step for you–is actually to file for divorce. What the filing needs to include depends on whether it is an uncontested or contested divorce. Some things, such as financial disclosures and marital property, will be the same in either situation. However, if you have an uncontested divorce where both parties agree on all of the issues, you can write that into the filing and ask the courts to use that information.
If you haven’t already agreed on how property will be split and other aspects such as child custody, there is usually a period of time when the family law lawyers for both sides will try to facilitate negotiations. This could be informal communication between lawyers or formal mediation. The goal of these negotiations is for the two parties to come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce so that the case doesn’t have to go forward to trial, where the judge will decide.
If negotiations fail, the case will move forward to trial. The judge will hear both sides and make a determination that they deem fair and equitable. If there are child custody matters to determine, the courts will decide what is in the best interests of the children. If your case goes to trial, it is very important to have a family lawyer representing you. Family law lawyers are especially experienced in matters of property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support and are able to represent your rights and interests through the trial process.
Whether the terms of the divorce are agreed upon or are laid out by the judge, there is a 31-day period after the final decree before the divorce is legally recognized, and the parties are legally single. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the case, unfortunately. If there are any issues with either party abiding by the divorce order, such as failure to pay child support or stopping the sale of joint property, enforcement measures may have to be taken.
If this happens, your divorce lawyer can walk you through the process. It may include filing more paperwork with the courts to show that the other party isn’t acting as they should. If you have any questions about what you should do after a divorce if the other party doesn’t abide by the divorce agreement, contact our firm.
What Factors Into How Much a Divorce Costs?
Divorce costs in Ontario vary widely, and it can be difficult to know how much to expect to pay at the beginning of the process. In general, an uncontested divorce costs less than a contested divorce, but a family lawyer can provide a more specific idea of their fees and what to expect. Below are a few of the major factors that go into how much a divorce costs.
Value of Marital Assets
While the value of the marital assets doesn’t directly impact the cost of a divorce, high-value assets or complex property divisions can take longer to work out. And when it comes to family law, the more time involved, the more money it costs. If you think that your case may qualify as more complex or there are disagreements about the value of the assets, talking with someone experienced in family law matters can help you get more accurate expectations.
Whether There Are Children
Divorces that involve children usually cost more than those without for the simple fact that the additional matters of child custody and child support must be determined in addition to property division. If there are disputes over whether there should be joint or sole custody, who should have custody, or the time-sharing schedule, it increases the likelihood of needing extensive negotiations or a trial, both of which add to the cost.
How Much Is Agreed
The more both parties can agree on, the less time a family lawyer needs to spend on the case. Because many lawyers charge by the hour, this means that an uncontested divorce is likely to cost less than one where there are issues that can’t be resolved out of court. If your divorce is fairly amicable and you know that you both want to save on divorce costs, it can be helpful to approach the process with a collaborative focus. If you can get as much as possible agreed upon beforehand, that’s less than the judge needs to hear from both parties.
How Do You Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
When you’re ready to talk to a divorce lawyer about legal services, it’s hard to know where to begin. You want to make sure that you find someone who is experienced in your type of case and meshes well with your personality wise. Following these steps can help you find a knowledgeable family law lawyer to take your case.
Narrow the Search Pool
There are quite a few divorce lawyers in the Toronto area, so the first step is to narrow the search pool. You can look for a law firm that has specific experience with a family law matter, such as high-asset divorces, or you can ask people you trust for recommendations. You want to try to have your initial choices down to just a few before you start the next step.
Interview the Prospects
Hiring an lawyer is a lot like hiring a contractor or tradesperson. You want to talk to them one on one to find out what kind of experience they have and whether they are truly a good fit for your case. When you are considering a family law firm, ask them questions about how they handle specific family law issues, such as child custody, spousal support, or asset division. Beware of firms that offer any guarantees. Each divorce is different, and the outcome depends on too many factors to be able to predict with absolute certainty.
Hire Your Counsel
Once you find an lawyer that has the experience you need, and you feel you could work well with, it’s time to actually retain them as counsel. If it is an uncontested divorce, the lawyer may be willing to work on a flat-fee basis, but it’s common to charge per hour. Make sure to talk about how much they charge, what kind of retainer you may need to pay to get the process started, and what happens if it turns into a contested divorce later on and it’s more expensive than you first thought.
If you’re looking for a family law firm in Toronto, ON, Anthony Family Law should be at the top of your list. Our team of experienced family lawyers can answer your questions about the divorce process and is ready and willing to represent your interests in court. Call our office at 647-933-2397 to find out more about our divorce services.