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Mediators are trained to help spouses negotiate a settlement. The Mediator’s job is to ensure that both parties’ views are heard, and help you reach a global settlement that best suits your family’s needs and priorities. Mediators are neutral, meaning they cannot take sides or pressure anyone to agree to anything. Your Mediator will create a safe space for you and your spouse to have challenging conversations. Your Mediator will help you and your spouse have respectful, productive negotiations and ultimately reach a global settlement.

What does a mediator do?

No. Your Mediator cannot provide either of you with legal advice, but will provide you with legal information, and based on experience, will help you both work your way through the negotiation of your global settlement.

Your Mediator can prepare a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the terms of your settlement, or because all of our Mediators are family law lawyers, we can prepare a draft Separation Agreement.  You will each need your own separate family law lawyers to provide each of you with Independent Legal Advice about the terms of your global settlement and/or Separation Agreement.

You may choose to have your lawyers present in Mediation, or you may choose to attend without lawyers. Attending without lawyers is often less expensive, although it is important to obtain Independent Legal Advice before signing a Separation Agreement.

Do mediators replace lawyers in the divorce process?

A Limited Scope Retainer allows us to provide Unbundled Legal Services for only the parts of your legal matter you need assistance with. We are happy to provide our services under a Limited Scope Retainer to help people access the resources to help navigate the Family Court system.

We will enter into a written Limited Scope Retainer Agreement with you that clearly outlines the nature, extent and scope of the legal services that you specifically want us to provide.

What is a limited scope retainer?

Limited Scope Retainers can include any of the following:

- Family Court Documents: Preparing, or Reviewing and Amending Court Documents, such as Applications, Answer and Counter-Application, Case Conference Briefs, Settlement Conference Briefs, Cost Submissions, Factums, Motions, Affidavits, and more.
- Reviewing letters from your spouse’s lawyer and preparing a response on your behalf or provide advice on how to respond
- Assisting you with settlement negotiations
- Conducting Legal Research
- Attending as Agent at Motions, and Conferences (but not for the entire Court process)
- Coaching you for your Court appearance as a Self-Represented Individual
- Assisting you to prepare a Net Family Property Statement
- Reviewing financial disclosure to assess whether or not the disclosure is sufficient
- Explaining what to expect at each stage of your case
- Providing you with Independent Legal Advice (ILA) on Mediated Separation Agreements, Marriage Contracts, Cohabitation Agreements, Parenting Agreements, and more

You decide what you need help with to achieve your goals. If you just need an hour of a lawyer’s time, we are happy to help you. Bring your list of questions. We will answer your questions and help you make a plan. It’s up to you if you want further assistance from your lawyer in our office or if you’ve got what you need to take it from there.

Your first step is to call our office and speak to one of our Team members at 905-290-1965 or email office@nachlaw.com.

What do limited scope retainers include?

We thought it would be helpful to offer access to our law clerks and law students to people who would benefit from this type of help.

Lawyers don’t do it all on their own. We get help from our law clerks and law students. We always strive to save our clients money on legal fees. In our firm, our policy is that the lawyers should do what only lawyers can do, and delegate the rest to our law clerks and law students.

Our law clerks and law students help us with document and Financial Disclosure Brief preparation, Court filings, and so much more. They would be happy to help you too. Our law students were born to do Family Law. They are really close to being called to the Ontario Bar and are super keen to get as much experience as possible under the mentorship of our lawyers. You save money on legal fees ($175.00 to $225.00 per hour, on a prorated basis if applicable). It’s a win-win!

What is a virtual law clerk?

A will is a written document with instructions about how to distribute your assets upon your death, who will administer your estate, and who will be a guardian for your children who are minors. People generally have to be 18 or older and be of sound mind to make a will. The will should be updated dependents of their own. You can appoint your adult children as your trustees gift directly to grandchildren.

If you don’t have a will at death, probate procedures are more complicated, and the distribution of assets is determined by legislation in the jurisdictions where you may live and own assets, which may not be what you want. Also, a lack of will may prompt inter-family strife as family members argue about your intentions, which are not set out in writing. No guardian will be named for your minor children. The court appointed administrator will not have the broader Trustee powers normally included in a will.

What is a will, & why do i need one ?

Wills generally fall into two categories: “mirror” spousal wills and individual wills. “Residue” means the assets left over after debts and taxes are paid, and/or what is not disposed of in other ways (for instance, joint assets go to the surviving owner, and some assets, such as life insurance policies, allow you to list beneficiaries directly on the assets). We offer very reasonable flat fees for basic mirror spousal will packages and individual will packages. Basic wills include provisions for the appointment of two estate trustees, either acting together or one primary and one substitute; one guardian for minor children; bequest to spouse and children of the marriage; and specifying the preferred age of inheritance. Our basic wills packages do not include specific bequests of assets, disaster provisions, funeral instructions or organ donation and/or discretionary trusts. We can also prepare more complicated wills and secondary corporate wills, at additional cost.

 

We usually schedule the first appointment for estate planning (about 45 minutes) to obtain the information we need to prepare your will and powers of attorney. We schedule a second appointment for signing of the wills and powers of attorney (there are two kinds of powers of attorney: Continuing Power of Attorney for Asset Management/Property, and Power of Attorney for Personal Care/”Living Will”). We prefer to schedule the will signing appointment about one week after the first appointment.

You may wish to consider who will act as an alternate trustee (executor) if your primary trustee is unable or unwilling to fulfill the role; a guardian for the children (not necessarily the same person(s) as the trustee); and whether you wish to have a “disaster clause” that dictates how your estate will be distributed in the event of a disaster (death of all immediate family members). For the powers of attorney, you must select a primary attorney and a substitute.

 

Our most cost-effective wills and powers of attorney package is the spousal wills package, which includes two mirror spousal wills, two powers of attorney for property and two powers of attorney for personal care. This is approximately 50% of standard market rates. We can prepare a will package on a “rush” basis, and we can visit a home, hospital or nursing home for will signing if necessary (additional costs apply).

 

We ensure that the original documents are delivered to you, where they belong, upon signing. We do not keep the original will and powers of attorney. We keep copies in our files for at least seven years (as required by the Law Society of Upper Canada), and we scan your documents and save them on our server indefinitely. We can explain this in detail when you schedule your appointment or when you meet with the lawyer.

How is the will set up?

A power of attorney is a document in which you appoint one or more people to act on your behalf in case you lose the legal capacity to deal with your own affairs.

 

The Power of Attorney for Asset Management/Property gives the person(s) appointed the right to do everything you can do, in your place, except make a Will. The Attorney is supposed to spend your money only on you and your legal obligations (like supporting your children), but there is no formal supervision of the Attorney. That said, your Attorney should keep an “accounting” with respect to the management of your financial affairs. You can end (revoke) a Power You may well ask, given the potential for abuse, why should you have a Power of Attorney? The answer is that you, even if you are a young adult, could potentially lose the ability to deal with your own affairs through illness or accident. If you don’t have a Power of Attorney, and you become incapacitated, the government in your province (the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) in Ontario) will step in and manage your affairs, even if you have a spouse and/or family members who are ready, willing and able to do so. After, Application procedure made by your spouse or other family member, the Public Guardian and Trustee may appoint one or more individuals to manage your affairs. This costs money, because the government usually charges for the management services, and there may be a cost involved in the appointment of an institutional trustee or administrator to manage your affairs. There may be inter-family conflict as to who should act on your behalf and/or what should be done. The person chosen to administer, on your behalf; your affairs in the absence of a Power of Attorney for Asset Management signed by you; may not be the person you would choose.

Continuing Power of Attorney for Asset Management

What is this and why do I need one?

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care/Living Will is a document in which you state who can make decisions effecting your health and personal care if you are incapable of doing so. That can include giving or withholding consent to medical treatment, housing, food, hygiene, clothing and safety. Also, if your feel strongly that you would not want to remain alive in a vegetative state for any extended period of time, these instructions should be stated in a Letter of Wishes that forms a Schedule “A” to the Power of Attorney.

 

As with the Continuing Power of Attorney for Asset Management, if you do not have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care/Living Will, the government agency, the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) in Ontario, may step in and take over decision- making regarding your health care, even if you have a spouse and/or family members that are ready, willing and able to do so. After an Application procedure (which is about one (1) year) made by your spouse or other family member, the Public Guardian and Trustee may appoint one or more individuals to manage your health care, act on your behalf and/or make decisions about your health care. The person chosen by the PGT to manage your health care may not be the person you would have chosen. Overall, it is generally preferred that you take care of appointing your caregiver yourself, and provide instructions of your philosophy and beliefs regarding heroic measures so that if you do become incapacitated at any time during your life, your wishes will be carried out without interference or objection.

Power of Attorney for Personal Care – otherwise known as “Living Will”

We also do Probates (now called Application for Appointment of Estate Trustee With or Without a Will).

 

Probate is the procedure by which the trustee(s) or executor(s) that you have named in your will is given a certificate by the Estates Office that enables him or her to administer your will. The term “probate” is still used, but the official name is Certificate of Appointment of an Estate Trustee with a Will, or a Certificate of Appointment of an Estate Trustee Without a Will.

PROBATE

If you die without a will (intestate), probate procedures are more complicated, and the distribution of your assets according to legislation may not be what you want. The lack of a will may cause conflict between family members if they argue about your intentions. Often the greatest cause of concern is that there is no guardian named for the deceased’s children and/or no one chosen to manage finances for children who are minors. A court-appointed administrator will not have the broader trustee powers normally included in a will.

What happens if I die and I didn’t make a will?

“Settle amicably if we can. Fight for you in Court if we have to. By your side.”


At Nachla Law Office, we specialize in all aspects of family law. We know that going through a separation or divorce can come with a lot of uncertainty, frustration and sometimes even trauma. We understand that the people that come to us for help are often anxious, hurt, and looking for guidance and support. We are here to guide you through your Family Law matter with care and professionalism.


We will listen to your concerns and needs, answer your questions, make sure you understand your options, and protect your rights. We firmly believe in resolving disputes in alignment with your objectives.


We are client-focused and will educate you on the process options available to you and which one will meet your family’s unique needs. We will work with you to understand and tailor our services to address your concerns and help you meet your goals.


Our lawyers and staff will work with you to reduce the financial and emotional stress of separation and divorce. We are ready to support you and advocate strongly on your behalf so as to protect the current and future wellbeing of you and your children.  We will help you plan your family’s future by giving you solid legal advice every step of the way. Our main goal for our clients is to minimize the conflict now and in the future and to help them resolve their differences fairly, respectfully and with dignity.


NEXT STEP: INITIAL CONSULTATION


We offer a comprehensive consultation where we will meet with you (in person or virtually) to learn about your unique situation, your concerns and your goals so that we can equip you with the information and advice you need to make important decisions about your future.


The first step toward resolving your family law matter is a consultation with one of our lawyers. We do not use the initial consultation to sell you on our legal services. Just prior to the initial consultation, we will have you complete an intake form with the information we will need about you and your family.


When you call our firm, one of our team members will answer and will ask questions to learn about your matter in order to “triage”, so we can offer you a consultation with the lawyer or lawyers in our firm who are best suited to your situation within the appropriate time based on time sensitivity. We will ask for the name of your spouse and any other parties involved so we can do a conflict check. We will schedule a date and time for your meeting with one of our lawyers, which can be in-person or by video conference depending on your preference. (We will take your payment just before a video conference or after your in-person appointment.)


We work as a team. You hear that so often these days it sounds cliché, but we really do. Even if you meet with only one lawyer at your initial consultation, you actually have two or more lawyers on your team who keep apprised of your matter so that if your main lawyer is away from the office, you can rest assured that another lawyer within the firm can jump in and assist you as needed. You only pay for one lawyer and get at least two lawyers for the price of one.


The lawyer or lawyers you will meet with in the initial consultation will review your intake form and ask you to tell us about your family situation. The consultation will be focused on providing you with valuable information you will need to navigate the family law landscape, and answers to your questions. We will work with you to create a plan to move your matter forward efficiently and cost effectively. At the end of the consultation, you will have received honest advice and information you can rely on.


We charge a flat fee for the one hour consultation at a reduced rate (less than the lawyer’s normal hourly rate). There is no obligation or pressure to retain our firm to act for you. We understand that some people come to us for information and advice when they are still trying to save the marriage. If you are ready to proceed and do retain us to represent you in your family law/divorce matter, you will receive a credit for the initial consultation on your first invoice, so that the initial consultation will become free.


Some of our clients come to the consultation prepared with a full list of questions and documents for us to review. That can be helpful and we will answer your questions. Some clients come to the consultation with nothing. That’s okay too. We understand that most of our clients have never needed legal services and don’t know how to start. Don’t fret. We will ask you questions to understand how we can help you and we will give you the advice you need.


For more information about the process or to book a consultation please contact our office by phone at 905-290-1965.


PROCESS OPTIONS


Helping Your Family Move Forward with Dignity

We define success in Family Law matters as making a plan that allows our clients and their families to move forward as quickly and cost efficiently as possible. We encourage respectful and amicable settlements that are fair and that help our clients rebuild their lives with dignity. We work with our clients, lawyers and other professionals to find practical solutions. In our consultation, we will talk about the different process options in family law available to you so that you can choose the option that will be most efficient and productive to your family. The process option you choose can significantly impact the outcome.


KITCHEN TABLE AGREEMENT


What is a Kitchen Table Agreement?

As the name suggests, a kitchen table agreement is where you and your partner sit down and decide together how to divide your assets and debts. A kitchen table agreement is cost-effective because you and your partner reach a settlement yourselves without the help of lawyers and/or a Mediator.


Pros and Cons of a Kitchen Table Agreement:


THE PROS:

  • Cost-effective

  • Flexible in terms of time

  • You are in control of the process


THE CONS:

  • The settlement terms may not be fair

  • Without legal advice, you might not be aware of all of your options or may not have considered all of your options

  • Division of some assets such as Pension plans and Cryptocurrencies are tricky

  • Your spouse may be a stronger negotiator or there may be a power imbalance


Kitchen table agreements are tempting because you save money on legal fees by reaching a settlement yourselves. It may not be the best outcome for you and your family. Also, just because you are happy with your kitchen table agreement and you both think it’s fair, if you deviate from the law, it can be set aside (partially or entirely). Are you sure you understand all of your options? Have you thought about how your kitchen table agreement will affect you and your children in 5 years or 10 years down the line? Your Separation is a big deal with long-lasting consequences. It’s best to make sure you get it right.


Keep in mind that you will still be required to have the terms of your settlement formalized in the form of a Separation Agreement that is prepared properly by a lawyer so that it will be binding and enforceable. If you have financially dependent children, the Court will not grant you a Divorce Order without a proper Separation Agreement that covers the parenting plan, and child support in accordance to your incomes pursuant to the Federal Child Support Guidelines.


We can provide one of you (not both of you) with Independent Legal Advice and with the preparation of the Separation Agreement. We will not pick your Kitchen Table Agreement apart or create tension for you and your ex-partner. We will let you know if we think a Court would have concerns about anything you or your ex-partner have agreed to, and make appropriate recommendations to keep as close to your global settlement as possible.


COLLABORATIVE LAW

Collaborative Family Law is a process whereby divorcing couples agree to settle all matters arising from their marriage and separation without going to Court. In addition to their lawyers, the couple works with various professionals as a team to settle issues like property division, net family property equalization, support, parenting (custody and access), and end their marriage on cooperative terms.


What is a Collaborative Divorce?

The spouses work together to resolve legal issues and create a mutually beneficial Separation Agreement, rather than go to Court and having a judge impose decisions for their family. Because both spouses approach the process with a mindset of reaching a Separation Agreement that is tailored to their family, the Collaborative process typically yields better outcomes, and does so faster and more cost-effectively than the conventional Court process.


Collaborative divorce can only be practiced by professionals and lawyers who have completed specialized training. Most of our lawyers at Nachla Law Office are certified collaborative divorce professionals and can help you navigate this efficient and beneficial option.


Nachla Law Office is a safe place where a Collaborative team of professionals will work with you and your partner to help you reach a global settlement out of Court. The Collaborative process is completely voluntary. No one can be forced to settle through the Collaborative process. You will both sign a Participation Agreement as a commitment to the Collaborative process.



What does a collaborative lawyer do?

Your lawyer is there to:

  • Advise you, and advocate strongly (but not adversarially) to protect your interests and rights.

  • Recommend practical solutions that make sense for your priorities and goals for your family.

  • Facilitate information sharing, open communication and financial disclosure

  • Provide you with clarity, support and reassurance

  • Explain the options available to you and help you weigh your options

  • Facilitate respectful discussions between you and your spouse, as well as provide a safe space where you can both speak openly and honestly in Collaborative Team Meetings

  • Prepare the Separation Agreement that you will both sign


YOUR COLLABORATIVE TEAM

Your Collaborative Team will typically include:

  • Your and your ex-spouse’s Collaborative Family Law Lawyers

  • A Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist, who will help with the financial disclosure necessary for negotiating the division of assets and debts. This professional will also help you reach practical solutions for dividing the assets and debts fairly

  • A Family Professional (aka a social worker who is a certified in Collaborative Family Law) who will help you develop the parenting schedules tailored to your children and your family’s specific needs. 

They also neutralize any power imbalances that frustrate effective communication and help get you to a signed Separation Agreement faster and more cost-effectively.


People sometimes get scared that adding more professionals to the team will increase the cost of getting to a global settlement. In fact, it lowers the cost. How? By getting the right professional doing the right job at the right time. The lawyers typically have the highest hourly rates. Limiting what the lawyers have to do to those things that only a lawyer can do (like prepare the Separation Agreement collaboratively) will significantly lower your legal fees. In the Collaborative process, the Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist taking care of the financial disclosure and helps the parties budget for their separate futures; the Family Professional helps the parties reach a Parenting Plan and prepares that  as a schedule to the Separation Agreement. These professionals do those necessary parts of the global settlement and Separation Agreement based on lower hourly rates than the lawyers, ultimately saving you money overall.


WHY CHOOSE COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW/COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?


Divorcing couples choose Collaborative process because they wish to reduce conflict, establish a positive co-parenting relationship, and help the family move forward as a family in two homes living in harmony.


Collaborative Law is generally faster and more cost-effective than going to Court or even Mediation. You also have much more control over timing, results and how you will get to a signed Separation Agreement. It also often teaches you how to better communicate and co-parent.


Knowledge is Power

For individuals seeking legal advice, we provide general information as well as legal advice you will need to know our rights and obligations with respect to:

  • Separation and Divorce: Providing comprehensive legal guidance throughout the divorce process.

  • Cohabitation Agreements: Safeguarding the interests of unmarried couples.

  • Marriage Contracts: Drafting agreements to protect your assets and interests.

  • Parenting (Custody and Access): Decision-making and parenting plans.

  • Division of Property: Net Family Property Equalization, Division of Assets and Debts, and Certified Business Valuations

  • Child Support: Federal Child Support Guidelines, Section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses, and Income Assessment for Self-Employed parents

  • Spousal Support: Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, and Income Assessment for Self-Employed spouses

  • Adoption: Guiding you through the legal intricacies of expanding your family.

  • Matrimonial Home: Buy out by one spouse, appraisal of home, sale of home and distribution of net proceeds of sale

…and all other complex issues that can arise in family law that are relevant to you.


Collaborative Law for all Family Matters

COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW is ideal for:

  • Separation Agreements;

  • Cohabitation Agreements;

  • Marriage Contracts (aka Pre-Nuptual Agreements or Prenups);

  • Parenting Plans;

  • Plans for Elder Care;

  • Adoption Openness Agreements; and

  • Issues involving Wills and Estates.


If you have any questions about Collaborative Family Law at our firm, please do not hesitate to contact us. We welcome your questions! Let’s Connect!


What's the difference between Collaborative Law and Mediation?

Mediation is another type of out of Court resolution. You and your spouse will both meet with a neutral Mediator, who will help you discuss your issues and come to a global settlement. Mediators cannot provide Independent Legal Advice, so each spouse still needs his or her own lawyer.


MEDIATION


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of out-of-Court resolution process. In the family law context, the purpose of Mediation is a neutral facilitator who is there to help couples resolve issues arising from their marriage and separation. Those issues include the division of assets and debts, parenting arrangements (custody and access), child support including Section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses, spousal support.


Mediation is a voluntary process. Before Mediation can begin, both spouses must agree to participate and both must sign a Mediation Agreement. No one can be forced to participate in Mediation.


When you choose Mediation to resolve family matters at our firm, you are choosing to:


  • Work with a neutral person to facilitate the difficult conversations about issues that really matter to you;

  • Work with an experienced Family Mediator who knows the issues you need to address on Separation, Cohabitation or Marriage;

  • Work together, with the help of our Mediator, to create a balanced global settlement that is tailored to you and your family.


Why choose Mediation?

Divorcing couples often choose Mediation because:

  • Mediation is substantially less adversarial and less costly than Court litigation

  • Mediation provides for privacy and confidentiality.

  • You can choose the Mediator based on the Mediator’s background and experience in issues that are important to you (you can’t choose the Judges in Court that will impose decisions on you and your family).

  • All parties are participating in the final outcome, which is much more preferable to leaving important decisions to a Judge or Arbitrator. Mediation creates a “buy in” by the parties involved. Separation Agreements reached through Mediation are more sustainable and long-lasting than Court Orders, because people are more likely to follow Agreements they created themselves than Orders imposed upon them.

  • Mediation enables the spouses to control the outcome and final decisions. The terms of your settlement will be tailored and personalized to your family’s needs and priorities, rather than the typical one-size fits all (but doesn’t really fit anyone all that well) procedures and outcomes provided in Court Orders.

  • The law is always in the background of any settlement. In Mediation, you and your spouse are able to structure a global settlement in a way that satisfies your unique interests and concerns.

  • Mediated Separation Agreements include Dispute Resolution clauses that provide a clear process for addressing and resolving issues that might come up in the future.


How does it work?

Our firm’s Mediation process generally follows the following steps:

  1. All parties who will be parties to the Mediation process will contact our office separately to set up individual appointments. We need to do this because Mediation is a voluntary process, so we need to hear from every person who will be involved in the Mediation before we schedule the Mediation Session.

  2. Your Mediator will meet with each party separately first in order to learn about each person’s individual concerns and goals, and to screen them to make sure the Mediation is structured appropriately to meet the divorcing couple’s unique needs.

  3. A Joint Mediation Session will be scheduled where the parties will talk about their individual concerns and goals, and with your Mediator’s help and guidance, an Agenda will be prepared that sets out the issues to be discussed and resolved in order of priority. You will each have the opportunity to identify pressing issues that need to be addressed immediately.

  4. Your Mediator will send all parties to the Mediation Confirming Letters after each Joint Mediation Session, setting out what was discussed in the Joint Mediation Session and any agreements reached.

  5. Once all issues have been addressed by agreement, your Mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (a summary of the settlement terms) and/or a draft Separation Agreement. You will take this to your respective lawyers for Independent Legal Advice and signing. Once you sign it, this document will become your Separation Agreement.

  6. At any point during your Mediation, and certainly before a Separation Agreement is signed, each party must obtain Independent Legal Advice from their own respective lawyers.


Mediation for all family members

Many family matters can be resolved through Mediation. The resulting Agreements include:

  • Separation Agreements;

  • Cohabitation Agreements;

  • Marriage Contracts (aka Pre-Nuptual Agreements or Prenups);

  • Parenting Plans;

  • Plans for Elder Care;

  • Adoption Openness Agreements; and

  • Issues involving Wills and Estates.

If you have any questions about Family Mediation at our firm, please do not hesitate to contact us. We welcome your questions! Let’s Connect!


COURT

Ending a marriage takes a lot of time, consideration and energy. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will help you streamline an Uncontested Divorce by first negotiating a Separation Agreement that includes all the terms of your global settlement. If any aspect of your Divorce requires Court litigation, we can prepare the necessary documents and represent you in Court.


In Ontario, a Divorce can be Contested or Uncontested. How long it takes for your Divorce to be finalized will usually depend on which category it falls into.


What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An Uncontested Divorce is an Application for Divorce (Simple). There are no issues for a judge to adjudicate. You and your spouse have already negotiated and agreed upon all the terms of your global settlement (Property Division, Net Family Property Equalization, Parenting Plan, Child Support including Section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses, and Spousal Support).


If you have children together, you and your spouse are required to sign a Separation Agreement outlining your global settlement. The Court will only issue a Divorce Order if Child Support (including Section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses) is being paid in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines.


If you do not have children together, you are not required to sign a Separation Agreement before you apply for an Uncontested Divorce, but it is still recommended that you do.


We will prepare your Application for Divorce (Simple) and serve them on your spouse. Your spouse does not have to do anything. After 30 days passes, we can take the next steps to process the divorce on your behalf.


The processing time from start to finish on an Application for Divorce (Simple) is 4 to 6 months.  Normally, we wait until you and your spouse have been separated for more than 6 months before we start the process for you because the Court will not issue a Divorce Order until the anniversary date of your separation (meaning you and your spouse must be separated for more than 1 year for the Court to issue a Divorce Order).


Nobody needs to actually attend Court. The proper documents just need to be filed at Court at the appropriate time in accordance with the law and regulations.


What is Contested Divorce?

There are really only two choices: negotiation or confrontation; the easy way or the hard way. We’ve talked a lot about Alternative Disputes Resolutions (ADR) and out-of-Court settlements. Let’s talk about Court litigation. In our firm we believe that Court is a place of last resort. It is at the highest level in terms of cost and conflict.


Contested Divorces are often complicated. They also happen more easily than you might think. For instance, if you are engaged in traditional negotiations (aka lawyer-to-lawyer negotiations in the Process Options Chart), any miscommunication can result in an Application for Divorce (Contested Divorce) being filed and served. If you find yourself in Court, we will advocate for you during the Contested Divorce process and seek to minimize the impact on your life.


Keep in mind, just because you are in Court doesn’t mean that settlement isn’t possible. The reality is that very few Family Law cases go all the way to Trial. Most cases eventually settle. It may take a few Motions to get to that point, but Judges strongly encourage people to settle before they get to Trial.


When if family court litigation necessary?

In our experience, issues such as domestic violence (aka intimate partner violence), financial abuse, and hiding assets can frustrate attempts at fair negotiations through alternative dispute resolution techniques (aka out-of-court negotiations), such as Mediation or Collaborative Family Law. In these situations, our lawyers can bring an Application for Divorce (Contested) to Court for important temporary and final Court Orders for:

  • Full and complete Financial Disclosure

  • Parenting Arrangements (Custody and Access)

  • Access to children by either parent until a Final Order can be issued

  • Child Support (including Section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses) for dependent children

  • Spousal Support

  • Prevention of Depletion or Hiding of Assets

  • Exclusive Possession of the Matrimonial Home and its Contents


“Do it yourself" Separation and Divorce: Unbundled Legal Services and Limited Scope Retainers

More and more people are opting to represent themselves in their family matters in Court, in Mediation, and in traditional settlement negotiations. Part of the reason the Courts are so backlogged is that many people can’t afford legal fees so they go to Court on their own, unrepresented by legal counsel. We understand that legal fees are just not affordable for some individuals. You may want to minimize your legal costs or you may fear that hiring a lawyer may make things more difficult with your ex. “Unbundled Legal Services” or “Limited Scope Retainers” are one way to work with a lawyer and save money and work with your budget.


FAMILY LAW COACHING


Our lawyers offer a wide range of Family Law Coaching services to help people who are self represented in Court, in Mediation and in traditional settlement negotiations to achieve the best possible outcomes. Coaching services are paid on an hourly basis, you just pay for what you need when you need it.


What is Coaching?

Legal Coaching means having a lawyer help you behind-the-scenes with the skills lawyers can share with you and teach you so that you can present your case as effectively as possible on your own., like strategizing and planning, document preparation and organization, negotiation and presentation.


This includes things like:

  • Providing you with education and information on statutes and caselaw relevant to your matter

  • Legal Research

  • Help you with strategic advice

  • Give you practical advice on how to resolve your Family Law matter efficiently and quickly

  • Review your documents and give you advice on what to include

  • Attend Court to assist you in Motions and Conferences (even if we are only retained for that attendance)

  • Providing you with practical and strategic advice on how to deal with Judges, and your ex-partner’s lawyer

  • Providing you with advice on how to deal with your ex-partner on a day-to-day basis if you are still all living in the matrimonial home or with co-parenting


What can a Law Clerk or Law Student help you with?

  • Preparing and organizing documents for Court appearances

  • Filing documents in Court

  • Preparing financial disclosure, including Form 13 and Form 13.1 Financial Statements, Net Family Property Statements, and Disclosure Briefs

  • Applications for Divorce (Simple) or Uncontested Divorce, where all issues have been resolved

  • Preparing documents for Applications for Step-Parent Adoptions or Relative Adoptions

  • You can hire our law clerks and law students on an hourly basis or on a Flat Rate Fee-for-Service basis. We are here to help your organize your Family Law matter.


*Law Clerks and Law Students are not Lawyers and will NOT provide any legal advice.


Who can hire our law clerks and law students?

  • People who are representing themselves in Family Court Litigation matters or in traditional settlement negotiations

  • Lawyers (such as Sole Practitioners) who need assistance preparing and filing Court documents (subject to a conflict search)

  • Mediators who need assistance preparing Financial Statements, Net Family Property Statements, drafting, and more


If you want to hire our law clerks or law students, call our office at 905-290-1965 or email us at office@nachlaw.com.


SEPARATION AGREEMENTS


All Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or out-of-Court process options result in a signed Separation Agreement.


A separation agreement can be negotiated in a few different ways, depending on the family dynamics. A separation agreement can be negotiated using a Collaborative process. It can be negotiated in Mediation, with or without lawyers present. It may be through a “traditional” Lawyer-to-Lawyer negotiation between parties with the help of their lawyers, which can include 4 way settlement meetings (these are in-person or virtual meetings with the parties and each of their lawyers), and discussions between the lawyers.


Separation Agreements have serious long-term consequences. The settlement terms contained in your Separation Agreement will shape your future finances, parenting arrangements.


Our goal is to empower our clients to make the right decisions about their children and their finances. We provide our clients with reliable legal advice and clear legal information to help them make these important decisions.


For most separating families, the goal is a comprehensive Separation Agreement that sets out each party’s rights and obligations.

In order to be binding and enforceable, a Separation Agreement must contain two components:

  1. full and complete financial disclosure of both parties, including proof of income and assets on particular dates; and

  2. a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice for each of the two parties.

Without these two components being met, a Separation Agreement can be set aside later on by a Judge in Court. The more one-sided a Separation Agreement is, the more important it is to make sure there has been full Financial Disclosure. A one-sided Separation Agreement will make Courts suspicious that one spouse was not fully aware of what they were agreeing to, and less than full financial disclosure makes the Separation Agreement vulnerable to being set aside. In our firm, we generally cannot give Independent Legal Advice on Separation Agreements where the financial disclosure is lacking or incomplete.


DOMESTIC CONTRACTS: COHABITATION AGREEMENTS AND MARRIAGE CONTRACTS


Cohabitation Agreements

Living with your partner can trigger certain family law rights and obligations, particularly with respect to spousal support (aka alimony). The law treats common-law spouses differently from legally married spouses. It does not matter how long you have been living together in a common-law relationship, common-law spouses do not have the same rights and obligations under the law as legally married spouses.


A Cohabitation Agreement will give you and your common-law spouse the peace of mind that you both know what to expect during the relationship, in the event of a separation, and in the event that one of you predeceases the other. The Cohabitation Agreement encompasses spousal support, the sharing of financial responsibility in the day-to-day expenses and with the family home, and how you will share the value of the home and other assets and debts.


Marriage Contracts (aka Pre-Nuptual Agreements)

It's important to be aware of the legal consequences of getting married. The law stipulates how assets will be divided and the quantum and duration of spousal support upon separation, depending how long you were married. The law also sets out how much a spouse will receive from a deceased spouse if there is no Will.


Marriage Contracts set out you and your spouse’s mutual intentions with respect to division of assets, spousal support and the matrimonial home in the event of a separation or death. You can make a Marriage Contract at any time, before or after the marriage. (That’s why we don’t call them Pre-nuptual Agreements, which, as the name would suggest, must be signed before the marriage.)

While we still find that the majority of people choosing to have Marriage Contracts are those who have been married and divorced before and/or are blending families, more and more couples getting married for the first time are choosing to have a Marriage Contract. It’s not very romantic. If you don’t need it, you’ll still see the value of having done it; and if you do need it, you’ll be really glad you did it.

In the case of blended families in particular, you and your spouse may agree that you have something different than what the law prescribes. In Canada, we are fortunate to be able to override the law in contracts. You and your spouse can contract out of some or all of these rights and obligations set out in legislation and create a plan that better suits your family’s needs.

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