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Why You Can’t Compare One Family Law Proceeding to Another: It’s Not Apples to Apples

Almost everybody knows someone who has been divorced.

Despite how common family law proceedings have become, each case is bound to have its own unique challenges. There are a number of factors which may increase the time and cost associated with a family law matter.

Complexity of the Issues and Willingness to Resolve

Some family law cases are more complex than others. If your case has issues of custody, access, child support and spousal support, your matter will likely take more time to complete than a simple issue of property division.

While some complexity is unavoidable, the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in family law offers an efficient and practical method to resolve complexity (and save costs). For example, using mediation to resolve some issues avoids going to court with an “all or nothing” attitude and incurring significant costs without a guarantee of success. The more the parties collaborate, the smoother the proceeding will go.

Significant Assets and Debts

If you and your spouse have accumulated significant assets or debts during the relationship, there may be additional processes required, such as an appraisal of valuable goods or a forensic accounting to investigate complex financial matters.

These processes are highly recommended to clarify complex property issues before moving forward. Since lawyers are often not trained in this specialized context, a proper expert may be required to sort through the numbers.

Court Delays

It is no surprise that the court moves at a slow pace. Aside from the waiting times inherent in the process, other issues may arise, such as documents being lost at the courthouse, or parties being too ill to attend court.

Further, as shown by the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be unforeseen circumstances which cause your matter to be delayed.

Self-Represented Parties

If your spouse has chosen to self-represent, there may be a number of delays caused by a lack of familiarity with the legal system. While “do-it-yourself” guides are available online, these only offer limited assistance, and may greatly delay the process.

If a self-represented party makes a significant error in a document, the court might send it back to be amended. This will result in wasted time and costs being incurred that would have been avoided with the guidance of a family lawyer.

If you require assistance with a family law matter, speak to a family lawyer at McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP by calling (519) 672-5666.

This post was written by Family Lawyer Matthew Villeneuve and Summer Student Aaron Ender.