Hi, my name is Andrew Morrison and I am an Associate here at Feldstein Family Law Group. Many clients come in initially and are looking to proceed to court immediately. It is important that your lawyer provides you with reasonable expectations and outlines not only the court process but alternative ways in resolving your matter. It is important to understand that a trial of your matter should be a last resort.
This is not Hollywood with the glamourized trial. This is your family, your children and your money. We want to preserve as much as we can. So, take a deep breath and listen to our advice. We will walk you through the whole process.
Although it is possible for some matters to avoid court altogether, many matters will go to court. Going to court, however, does not mean going to trial. Nor should the idea of proceeding to a trial be encouraged. “Going to court” arises when an urgent matter comes up; when the other party does not come to the table to discuss; or when an impasse is reached and mediation or arbitration has not been agreed to.
There are many steps, months, and sometimes years before a trial date is obtained. It is important that you consider not only the effect on your finances, but the effect that litigating your matter will have on your family. Alternatives to court, such as mediation, provide parties with a less adversarial venue to resolve their issues. However, in some cases, unreasonable or unresponsive parties force the other party to litigate the matter. Some issues will certainly require court involvement and depending on the complexity of the issues and the reasonableness of your spouse, the issues may not be resolved without a trial.
The bottom line, however, is that most cases do not reach trial. For various reasons, once polarized parties may now meet in the middle and settle. This may occur at any stage of your matter; prior to court action, during the litigation process, on the eve of trial or sometimes even at trial. The longer it takes to reach settlement the more expensive your matter will be.
The closer you get to trial the more significant trial preparation begins and the costs begin to rapidly increase. Listen to your lawyer about offers to settle which are both helpful in settling a case and also may help you in dealing with cost consequences at the trial.
This isn’t Hollywood and it will not closely resemble trials that you see in movies. It will be you, your spouse and a list of witnesses giving evidence with a Judge deciding the result. This is not to say you should never go to trial. Pick your battles and be prepared to reach settlement where it is warranted. Listen to your lawyer about the likelihood of success on your various issues being litigated and open your mind to the idea of settlement.
Be smart, weigh your options and listen to your lawyer. Chances are that your issues are not novel and your lawyer knows what he or she is doing. Commence a court action when necessary but don’t expect to go to trial. You can go to court but give it your best effort to resolve the issues, with or without the judge, keeping in mind what a trial will do to you, your family and your finances.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to me today. Please feel free to visit our website at www.separation.ca or call us at 905-415-1636 to schedule a consultation.