In the family law context, litigation can involve either of the Family Court (at the Superior Court of Justice), the Superior Court of Justice, and/or the Ontario Court of Justice, depending on the nature of the outstanding issues.
Court appearances in a family law matter may involve case conference, settlement conferences, motions (if necessary), trial management conferences and, failing all other efforts to resolve outstanding issues, a trial.
You want a lawyer who is committed to settling your matter equitably and without recourse to court, unless absolutely necessary.
Should your matter require the courts’ involvement, you will need a lawyer to identify the relevant issues and canvass solutions for resolving same, as well as ensuring that proper disclosure is exchanged and scheduling relevant court dates.
You want your lawyer to seek specific relief from the courts on matters such as support and access, while keeping the door open for negotiations on property division and other such issues that may take parties to trial.
Even after you start a court proceeding, if parties are willing, you can still work on settling outside of court, but to do so you must have realistic expectations and be willing to listen to counsel’s opinions on the likelihood of being successful at court.
Ultimately, it is the litigants themselves who determine what it will take to arrive upon a resolution. You need a family law lawyer who will not be afraid to tell you, or the opposing side, when a position is untenable or unreasonable and who will speak with you frankly about the strength and weaknesses of your case.
Matters of custody, access, and support are never truly final in family law. You may find yourself re-negotiating or re-litigating an issue for years to come by bringing motions to change existing orders. If your situation has changed significantly since the time that an agreement was entered into or an order made, you may be able to proceed with a motion to change the terms of same.
Speak to a family law practitioner at Epstein & Associates about the particulars of your case and whether this is a viable option for you.