If a married couple cannot agree on how to settle or resolve the issues and differences between them by utilizing non-adversarial means such as mediation or counseling, either one, or both of them or their family law lawyers on their behalf, can approach the Courts and ask a judge to decide for them.

Sometimes an agreement can be reached upon everything except for one thing, like the custody of the children or what will happen to the family home. For this the parties can go to court and ask the Court to decide upon the matter between them.

In Ontario, there are three different courts that deal with family law matters:

  1. For some communities, all family law matters are dealt with by the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice. This Court can deal with and adjudicate on all family law matters, such as divorce, custody, access, division of property, adoption and child protection.

In other communities, family law matters are dealt with in two separate courts. The parties will need to know which one can deal with the family law issue, disagreement or dispute they need resolved:

  1. If the parties simply want to get a divorce, or if they want to get a divorce and also ask for custody, access or support as part of the divorce, they must approach the Superior Court of Justice. They must also approach this court if they want to resolve matters related to the division of their family property such as the matrimonial home, joint bank accounts etc.
  2. If they are not seeking a divorce, but only want to ask for support, or resolve issues related to custody of or access to their children they can go to the Ontario Court of Justice. This Court can also hear adoption and child protection matters.

A competent family law lawyer will be best able to advise on a case to case basis regarding which court to approach and with which matter.

DUTIES OF THE COURT:

Statute places certain duties upon the Court. In a divorce proceeding, it is the duty of the court, before considering the evidence, to satisfy itself that there is no possibility of the reconciliation of the spouses, unless the circumstances of the case are of such a nature that it would clearly not be appropriate to do so.

Where at any stage in a divorce proceeding it appears to the court from the nature of the case, the evidence or the attitude of either or both spouses that there is a possibility of the reconciliation of the spouses, the court is duty bound to:

(a) adjourn the proceeding to afford the spouses an opportunity to achieve a reconciliation (this adjournment period is generally 14 days); and

(b) with the consent of the spouses or in the discretion of the court, nominate a person with experience or training in marriage counselling or guidance, or in special circumstances, some other suitable person, to assist the spouses to achieve a reconciliation.

Upon fulfilling the abovementioned duties if the Court determines that the divorce is to be granted, the court has a duty to satisfy itself that reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of any children of the marriage, having regard to the applicable guidelines, and, if such arrangements have not been made, to stay the granting of the divorce until such arrangements are made.

For more information please contact MEHDI AU LLP today.

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Use of the site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for nonprofit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.

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