Family Law Information in Ontario: New Government Website

One of the most stressful aspects of separation and divorce is the uncertainty.You don't know how much money you will have, how much time you will have with your children and when the pain will go away. When I went through my own divorce, I hated the uncertainty and I am a divorce lawyer! 

The government of Ontario has launched a new website for the public that helps to address some aspects of the uncertainty. It is called www.YourOntarioLaw.com. It provides general legal information. One page that I especially like shows the inside of a courtroom

The problem with the website is that it is so focussed on the Court process. It has only one line about Collaborative Practice which is a way of resolving disputes without going to court. I guess this makes sense since the government is in the business of providing the Court system. It also has very little information about family law. 

Other excellent websites that provide information about the Collaborative Process are as follows: 

www.CollaborativePracticeSimcoeCounty.com This website provides information including professionals in Simcoe County who practice Collaboratively. It is a great resource. 

www.DivorceHappens.ca  This website provides more information about Collaborative  Practice, comparing the cost to the court process. It includes some great videos, and lists professionals I have helped train in the Collaborative Process throughout Ontario. 

www. OCLF.ca This website is our provincial umbrella organization. It has general information about Collaborative Practice. 

More Information...

Our firm website offers both information about the various process choices and lots of information about the law. We regularly receive positive feedback about what a great resource it is for the general public.  www.GalbraithFamilyLaw.com 

Of course, the best way to learn about your rights and obligations is to have a consultation. Our firm of experienced lawyers only practice family law. We offer one hour no-obligation consultations at a substantially reduced rate. You can ask all your questions and get answers particular to your case. Clients feel relieved of the uncertainty after a consultation.

Call 705 727-4242 or email JMcTighe@GalbraithFamilyLaw.com to book a consultation today.  

Fairness in Your Divorce: Court Compared to Collaborative

The other day the judge in Family Court said "We can't consider "fairness" when deciding cases." I was shocked but then I realized that she is right. Family Court is about rules and process. Like cases are to be treated alike according to the law. The law is a set of principles that the judge uses to prescribe the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Judges have a lot of discretion when applying the law to the facts so we speak in terms of the likely "range of outcome". Fairness in family court means applying the rules and principles impartially to each party. The resolution is not necessarily seen as "fair" to both parties. In fact, neither party may feel it is "fair".

One of my clients, referring to Family Court, said "It's not a justice system, it's 'just a system'." How true. Family court is a system intended to resolve disputes. That's all.

This is not in any way to impugn our Family Court judges. We have brilliant judges who care about the parties before them. It's just that the court system is an adversarial system. It isn't intended to meet the core concerns of each party.

Of course, in a sense it is "fair" to impartially apply the same rules and principles to all parties to resolve their disputes. That's what courts do.  

What most people want is a resolution that takes into consideration their core concerns: their underlying needs, desires, concerns and fears. Courts are not allowed to take into consideration the core concerns or interests of the parties. Courts take into consideration only those facts that are logically related to the applicable principles of the law. Judges' discretion is limited by the law.

Collaborative Practice is a process that involves interest-based negotiations. The professionals help the parties discover their core concerns. We then help the parties brainstorm solutions that take into consideration both party's core concerns. It's hard work but in the end the parties have a "win-win" resolution: a resolution they both feel is "fair". At Galbraith Family Law, all of our lawyers are trained to help clients using Collaborative Practice. We also go to Family Court but if we can help you reach a win-win resolution using Collaborative Practice, we do it.