A Lawyer’s Role in Mediation

An option available to divorcing parties is mediation. Such an option is more likely to go smoothly when each spouse has a legal advisor. A legal adviser is a lawyer who is willing to consult with you as a part of the mediation process. This article will discuss divorce mediation and legal advisors roles in the mediation proceedings and process.

In recent times divorcing couples have started to turn to mediation and as a result this has lessened the need for traditional consulting lawyers. However, this has resulted in the increased need of a legal adviser who is willing to consult with the divorcing spouse as an integral part of the mediation process. Therefore, it is very common for many divorce lawyers to become mediators and the same lawyers are happy to work as consulting lawyers on cases that do not require mediation.

According to the Canadian Bar Association mediation is defined as, “the intervention into a dispute or negotiation by an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party who has no decision-making power, to assist disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute.” With this definition in mind, one may ask why there is a need to consult a lawyer as the mediator will be available as the neutral third-party. At some point during or before mediation there is need to consult a lawyer in respect of your legal rights. It is important to note that a mediator has no decision-making powers nor is his or her goal to provide legal advice but to assist divorcing parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement on their issues. Therefore, by consulting a lawyer this can help you get answers that are tailor-made for your divorce case. An experience divorce lawyer can provide the following:

Evaluate your options – before the mediation a legal adviser can help you evaluate the option of mediation, assist with selecting a mediator and persuade your spouse to undergo mediation.

Act as a law coach – during the mediation, a legal adviser may act as a law coach on an as-needed basis. Between sessions you can consult with your legal adviser in order to clarify questions and prepare for negotiations. A good legal adviser can coach his or her client in negotiating techniques and help the client think up creative solutions to propose during the mediation.

Predict outcomes and costs – a legal adviser can help predict the range of possible legal outcomes if you had taken your matter to court as well as the cost of paying a lawyer to fight for such outcomes in court. By knowing the possible outcomes this is essential to a successful and fair negotiation.

Review agreements – one of the most important roles of a legal adviser is to review any written agreement prepared by the mediator to ensure that it says what his or her client wanted to say and to make it legally binding once signed. 

For a brief consultation with a legal adviser early on during the mediation process, seek out a law firm that specializes in simple divorce Ontario.

Child Support in Ontario

Child Support in Ontario

WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO?

When parents no longer continue to reside with each other, an arrangement is usually made in terms of which  parent the children may live with and for how long. Usually  the parent with which the children reside most of time is entitled to obtain from the other parent expenses relating to raising the children. This is called child support.

ELIGIBILITY FOR CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO

Payment of Child Support is determined by the living arrangement of the Child or Children. If the child or children live most of the time with one parent, then the other parent must pay. In the event that the parents spend an equal amount of time in rearing the child or children, child support is still payable. In such a situation, the parent with the higher income will normally be required to pay the net difference in the parties respective applicable amounts as specified in the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO CALCULATED?

There are Federal, Provincial and Territorial Child Support guidelines that specify how much child support is payable. The amount of child support is usually calculated in relation to the paying parent’s annual income. However, you must first determine which Child Support Guideline is applicable to your situation:

1)If you are divorced or have applied for a divorce then the Federal Child Support Guideline will apply. You can calculate the amount of child support payable under the Federal Guidelines here.

2)If you were never married or were married and are separated (and neither parent has applied for a divorce) then the Provincial or Territorial Child Support Guidelines apply. You can view the Ontario child support tables here.

HOW CAN I GET CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO?

Depending on whether you are entitled to receive Child Support, you can arrange child support to be paid to you in the following ways:

  • Online using this Ontario Government Website. You can use this service if you are setting up child support for the first time. Please click here to go the website.
  • A written agreement between you and the other parent;
  • In accordance with a court Order. If you are faced with an uncooperative parent, you may go to the court to obtain an Order for child support to be paid to you. Please click here for some helpful information regarding filing or changing child   support.

HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO IS ENFORCED

The Family Responsibility Office is an Ontario Government office that enforces Child Support payments. All Orders for Child Support made by the Courts are automatically filed in the FRO. Separation Agreements may also be filed in the FRO provided they have also been filed in Court.

The Family Responsibility Office collects the child support payments from the payor parent and then either mails a cheque or directly deposits the support payments into the recipient parent’s account.

In the event the payor parent misses support payments there are a number of ways the FRO can collect unpaid payments:

  1. It may deduct payments automatically from the parent’s wages or income;
  2. A charge may be registered against the parent’s personal property or real estate;
  3. It may garnish the parent’s bank account or up to half of joint bank accounts the Parent may have;
  4. An Order may be made against anyone who is helping a parent hide their income or assets that may go towards unpaid child support.

If a parent continues to not make payments, the FRO may exert pressure on that parent in the following way:

  1. It may suspend that parent’s driver license;
  2. It may cancel the parent’s passport;
  3. The parent may be reported to credit bureaus, making it difficult for them to obtain a loan.

The Family Responsibility Office can collect unpaid payments from across Canada, the US and any other country with which Ontario has an agreement.

Keep in mind that if a change is required to the amount of support payments, the FRO cannot be asked to make that change. If a parent believes a change in support payments is warranted, that change must be reflected in either a new Agreement or you can go before a court and ask to have the support Order changed.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice relating to your particular situation it is highly recommended to consult with a lawyer.

Uncontested Divorce in Ontario

Divorce Lawyer Toronto

When filing an uncontested divorce in Ontario, there are two types of uncontested cases:

Uncontested Sole Divorce: When both spouses are in agreement about the divorce and do not oppose the divorce, either the husband or wife files the divorce papers with the court asking for the divorce. Once the papers are filed with the court, your spouse is served with the divorce papers. Your spouse then has 30 days to contest or challenge the divorce, or make a claim such as for support, property, custody, etc. If your spouse does not challenge the divorce within the required period, the divorce will proceed as “uncontested” and will be finalized by the Ontario court.

Uncontested Joint Divorce: The second way to proceed is to file a joint divorce. In this type of filing, both the husband and wife sign and swear the divorce papers, including the Affidavit of Divorce. Neither spouse is suing the other for divorce – you are simply asking the Ontario court to grant a divorce based on separation. In a joint divorce application, spouses can also jointly ask the court to include an order relating to custody, access, support if both spouses agree to the terms. Couples prefer filing a joint divorce because filing in this manner does not require serving divorce documents on the other spouse.

Divorce Time Frame: The time that it takes to process an uncontested divorce in Ontario varies based on a number of factors. One of these factors may be the courthouse in which your divorce papers are filed. Family courts across Ontario vary in the time they take to process applications. However, as a general time frame, if all the necessary steps are taken and the documents are filed on time, it takes about 2 to 3 months to process the entire uncontested divorce in Ontario.

Clearance Certificate: Once the 8A application for divorce is filed, a document called the “clearance certificate” is sent from the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings located in Ottawa, Ontario to the courthouse in which the divorce application is filed. This Registry keeps nation-wide records of divorce applications filed after July 2, 1968. If there is another divorce application involving the same two spouses, the Registry lets the courts know. If there are no other divorce applications involving the two spouses, the clearance certificate is sent and the divorce process moves forward. For more information about the Central Registry, you can click here.

I hope we were able to give you some of the information you required in order to make your decision about the type of divorce in Ontario that you will be filing. Whether you are filling a sole divorce or a joint divorce, our Family Lawyer can process your case or guide your decisions. Here is a link to recent publications about Family Law on the Department of Justice website.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice relating to your particular situation it is highly recommended to consult with a lawyer.