The litigation process has a reputation for taking a lot of time and costing a lot of money, and both can be true. However, litigation also has its place in the world of family law disputes. In some cases, for example, where there is serious acrimony or bad faith between the parties, litigation may be the best way to achieve a fair and final resolution to an ongoing dispute and allow the parties to move on to better things.

At Boulby Weinberg LLP, our family lawyers have extensive courtroom experience at all levels of trial and appellate court in Ontario. We devise compelling and effective litigation strategies coupled with a formidable presence in the courtroom. Our strong advocacy in even the most complex or adversarial family litigation, positions our clients well to achieve their objectives.

When is Litigation the Best Option to Resolve a Family Matter?

We encourage our clients to work collaboratively whenever possible with their former partner because we believe this is the best way to resolve a matter quickly and in the best interests of everyone involved. As a result, we will often advise less combative methods of resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or negotiation. However, in some cases, these options are simply not possible. Sometimes, opting to litigate right away is the only choice. We are likely to recommend litigation as the optimal strategy in situations where:

  • The opposing party refuses to fully disclose financial details;
  • There are urgent matters requiring judicial intervention, such as a threat of violence, child abduction or a depletion of the family assets;
  • The parties require a change or variation regarding an existing judicial order for parenting, child support or spousal support on an urgent basis; or
  • The parties have attempted to resolve their matter through alternative means without success.

What to Expect in Family Litigation

Litigation can be a complex process involving several steps, each of which must be scheduled based on the court’s availability. Generally speaking, parties entering litigation can expect to go through the following steps:

  1. Application: The Applicant files an Application outlining their claims, which they will also serve on the opposing party.
  2. Answer: From the date the Application is served, the Respondent has 30 days to respond by way of an Answer, which will address the claims in the Application and may add additional claims.
  3. Response: The Applicant has 10 days from receiving the Answer to respond to any claims added in the Answer.
  4. Case Conference: The parties and their representatives meet with the judge for the first time to address any preliminary issues and/or to request orders for disclosure if necessary. After the case conference, parties may also bring motions seeking temporary, or interim relief, such as support or parenting orders relating to decision-making responsibility or parenting time.
  5. Settlement Conference: The parties will again meet with the judge to see if any or all matters can be settled ahead of trial. If there are issues outstanding, a trial scheduling conference will be scheduled.
  6. Trial Scheduling Conference: At the trial management conference, the judge will attempt once again to see if the parties can settle their dispute. If not, the parties will collaborate to prepare for the coming trial.
  7. Exit Pretrial: At the exit pretrial, which is held about one month before the trial, the judge will make a final effort to settle the trial.
  8. Trial: At trial, each party will have the opportunity to present their evidence, call witnesses, and respond to the opposing party’s claims. The length of a trial is dependent on the complexity of the case and the amount of evidence to review.
  9. Decision: Again, the time it takes for a judge to render a decision will largely depend on how complicated the case is. The parties may have a decision immediately after the conclusion of the trial, or it might take several weeks or even months.

Contact Boulby Weinberg LLP for Trustworthy Advocacy in Family Litigation

At Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto, our divorce lawyers regularly represent clients in court and are exceedingly experienced with complex family matters involving complicated financial arrangements and property holdings. To arrange a consultation with a reputable and empathetic lawyer at Boulby Weinberg LLP, please complete our confidential online questionnaire, which will provide you with valuable preliminary information tailored to your situation. A representative from our firm will contact you within one business day to discuss your matter further and arrange an initial meeting. To contact our firm without completing the questionnaire, please reach out to us online, or call us at 647-494-0113 ext. 102.