Hello, my name is Shilpa Mehta and I am a lawyer with the Feldstein family Law Group
Many prospective clients tend to ask me how much it will cost them before a final resolution of their family law matter can be achieved. That question can be difficult for counsel to answer and is dependent on a number of factors such as, but not limited to, the complexity of your case, the number of issues, the willingness of the other party to negotiate in good faith and so on. However, there are some helpful hints that can assist parties in controlling their legal costs and expedite settlement. In today’s blog, I will share some of the steps parties can take to help move their matter forward and limit their costs.
Timely and Fulsome Disclosure
The first step to resolving any family law matter is for each party to complete a Financial Statement and provide it to his or her spouse or partner along with all of their disclosure pertaining to their income and documentation supporting the figures in their Financial Statement. Now, this step of the process can take some time and is further prolonged if either party decides not to provide their full and frank disclosure as soon as possible first, to their own lawyer, and then to their spouse.
In some cases, parties may need additional information to gain a clearer idea with respect to income or assets that are or have been available to the other party to make certain that any settlement is based on complete financial information.
Making full disclosure and satisfying all reasonable disclosure requests at the earliest possible time is a fundamental tenet of family law and it is a prerequisite to any meaningful settlement discussions occurring between you and your partner.
Offers to Settle
One of the strategies that I learned early in my career as a lawyer is that once all financial information has been exchanged, encourage your client to “offer early and offer often”. This approach will garner you good faith and respect from the Court, should we need to proceed in that direction. According to the Family Law Rules, an Offer to Settle is a written document which summarizes your proposal to settle one or all of the issues in your family matter. At a minimum, an Offer to Settle will assist parties in narrowing the issues arising from their family law matter.
Further, should your matter proceed to court and you attain a court order as favourable or more favourable than your Offer, this may be a way to help secure your costs.
Avoid the Letter Writing Campaign
Sometimes clients use their lawyers as mouthpieces and convey each and every issue, no matter how big or how small, to their spouse’s counsel. While there is a necessity to write to opposing to advise of a pressing issue or matter of real concern, to write to your partner’s counsel about all issues can result in a breakdown in your relationship with your spouse and render out of court settlement impossible.
Where possible, maintaining a positive and amicable relationship with your spouse can really help move your matter forward.
If you would like to learn more about this or any other family law topics, visit our website. If you need legal advice about your own situation, please call us at (905) 581-7222 to schedule an initial consultation. Thanks for watching.