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Family Law & Your Choices

WHAT IS FAMILY LAW?

Family Law is a field of law dealing with the family, as the name suggests.  
Family Law covers the following areas.

> Divorce
> Separation
> Spousal Support
> Filiation
> De Facto Unions
> Custody of Children
> Division of Property
> Annulment of Marriage

The concept of the family has evolved considerably over the past twenty years. Teenagers today are the first generation brought up with the realities of shared custody and blended families.  

The increase in life expectancy, the increasing mobility of the population, the liberalization of moral codes, the active and voluntary participation of women in the labour market and the search for personal fulfillment are some of the many factors that have contributed to the fact that the break-up of a couple is no longer a mark of disgrace but rather a stage in life that must be faced and dealt with.

Added to that are the recognition of same-sex marriage, methods of artificial conception and the recognition of the right of the children to participate in decisions that involve them. These are the challenges that twenty-first century family-law practitioners must face while attempting to find the suitable solution for each individual family.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Several options are available for settling your differences.
Together, we will choose the option best suited to your needs, based on the nature of your case, the matters in dispute and stakes at issue.

CONCILIATION

Conciliation is the process of settling disputes in a friendly manner outside of the court system. It means bringing two opposing sides together, with their attorneys, to reach a compromise in an attempt to avoid taking a case to trial.

If you currently are in the midst of litigation, see the ‘Conciliation’ tab.

If you wish for me to represent you, and you believe that conciliation is a good option, I can find a professional who could act as a conciliator.

COACHING

It is possible that what you need is for someone to guide you through the legal process in order to support you and help you resolve your differences with your ex-partner. I invite you to see the ‘Certified Coach’ tab for more information.

MEDIATION

Mediation is a process in which the couple tries to find solutions to the dispute with the aid of a mediator. The mediator can be a lawyer, notary, psychologist or social worker, but must be accredited. Experience indicates that mediation with a lawyer specializing in family law proves to be most effective. I am not present during the mediation and therefore cannot intervene. The mediator has no power to force either of the parties to provide financial information or documentation, nor any coercive means to make the parties hold to their agreements.

The law stipulates that any person who starts proceedings in Family Court and who has children must attend an information session or provide a certificate of refusal of mediation if they believe that the step is pointless or that it would be too difficult for them.

Mediation can sometimes settle one of the points in dispute (for example, custody of the children) even if it is not possible to find solutions to other issues (for example, the sale of the family residence). We will discuss it.

 

Who pays for this?

Mediation is provided free for six sessions, including the information session. If it involves a request for revision, you may have three free sessions including the information session. The mediator is paid by the State. When additional meetings are necessary, the mediator can continue the process but you will have to pay the cost according to the hourly rate.

NEGOTIATION

Negotiation takes place between the lawyers with the aim of arriving at a satisfactory solution for the parties.

Negotiation can be undertaken before starting procedures or during the legal process.

Before starting legal procedures, it is often advisable to begin by sending a letter to your spouse suggesting that they engage the services of a lawyer in order to begin discussions and open negotiations before starting procedures. However, sometimes it can be urgent to go to court in order to protect your rights.

COLLABORATIVE LAW

Collaborative law is a new process of conflict resolution in which the parties agree in advance not to take their dispute to court. The parties and their lawyers work together to arrive at a satisfactory resolution for the good of the family.

This option, which we could call “assisted mediation,” is interesting. Four people take part in the sessions: both parties and their lawyers get together in a spirit of cooperation and trust. This method is based on mutual collaboration between lawyers to find solutions that are in the interest of the family, so as to avoid the rupture caused by legal confrontation. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, then everyone must hire new attorneys.

For more information visit http://quebeccollaborativelaw.ca/.

REFERRAL TO THE COURTS

This path involves initiating proceedings. You will have to present your case to a judge who will rule according to law and jurisprudence. It goes without saying that this step is taken when all other options have failed.

Using the information and documents that you provide, I will draw up a motion reflecting your demands. You will sign it after reading it carefully and it will be served on your spouse.

You will doubtless have many questions regarding your rights, as well as the specific details of the process. “What happens next?” “Will I need to go to Court?” “What are the steps?”

Each case is unique. Certain steps can be eliminated, but other steps may be repeated. In addition, how we proceed can vary according to the legal district where your file is registered.