Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you are preparing for a separation, divorce, adoption, or are proactively planning your estate, at Borden Family Law our goal is to answer any questions that may arise along the way. These life events are stressful, but the family lawyers at Borden Family Law are committed to navigating you through the process and challenges from beginning to end. And because we value keeping the lines of communication open with our clients, you won’t see a bill every time you have a quick question. In fact, we have answered some of our most frequently asked questions below.
Total legal fees will vary depending on the complexity of your matter. Fees are calculated on an hourly basis, so the cost depends on the number of hours it takes to resolve your legal matter. Law clerks are often used to draft materials, because their hourly rate is less than a lawyer’s and this helps to keep costs down. Generally, the best way to keep your legal fees down is to avoid going to court. This cuts down on court-related expenses and the legal fees associated with preparing for court.
In Canada, couples do not have to file for legal separation. Separation begins when a married couple lives “separate and apart,” which usually means living in different homes but can also mean cohabiting in different rooms, depending on the circumstances. Although no paperwork is needed to be considered separated, it is a good idea to meet with a family lawyer before you separate to determine what your rights are in relation to a number of issues, including the division of property, spousal support, child support, and child access and custody.
When it comes to custody matters, family law courts work to always put the children’s best interest first. This is determined on a case by case basis. Custody arrangements in Ontario fall into three categories: joint custody (both parents have custody of the children), sole custody (one parent has custody of the children) or split custody (each parent has custody of different children). When parents are able to cooperate and co-parent well, joint custody is often chosen. At Borden Family Law, in our 17 years of experience helping clients with their family law needs, we have seen many variations of these arrangements; let us help you find the one that is right for your family.
The matrimonial home is generally the largest shared asset you have with your former spouse and it plays a critical role in separation or divorce. Neither spouse can sell the matrimonial home without the written consent of the other. Both spouses are legally entitled to possession of the home unless an order for exclusive possession is granted from the courts, which is rare. If, through a settlement, you are successful in keeping the home, its value will be considered in the valuation of assets in the equalization process. As in all matters of family law, it is vital to get timely and sound advice on the division of all assets, especially the marital home, as early in the process as possible.
Going to trial is costly and creates uncertainty about the outcome of your legal dispute. A negotiated settlement that works for you and your family is recommended whenever possible. If this is not possible, other alternatives may include collaborative family law, mediation or arbitration. At Borden Family Law, we have helped countless clients through these alternative dispute resolution processes. Ultimately, our goal remains finding you a satisfactory outcome that is both time and cost-efficient, which is generally accomplished through an alternative to trial.