Hello, I am Daphna Schwartz from the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today, I will be talking to you about the next steps you must take in your family law matter immediately after having retained a lawyer.
Now that you have hired a family law lawyer, what happens next?
The first step your lawyer will take will be to contact your spouse or partner or your spouse’s or partner’s lawyer in writing, to advise that he/she has been retained to represent you. In this letter, your lawyer may also identify the issues in dispute, address any urgent issues, set out a list of financial disclosure that we require your spouse or partner to produce by a specified date, and address a process by which you and your spouse or partner will use to settle your issues to be drafted into a Separation Agreement.
Immediately after you retain our office, we provide to you a blank financial statement and will explain to you how to fill out this statement. You will also be provided with a list of financial disclosure that we require for you to produce to support the values on your financial statement. For example, if you are claiming you had a credit card debt in the amount of $5,000.00 at your date of separation, you must prove it by providing the credit card statement.
Once you provide all of this information, we will be able to complete a draft of your financial statement for you to review. When you are satisfied with the draft, you will come into our office to swear the statement. We will also put together a disclosure brief with all of your financial documents to be sent to your spouse or partner or his or her lawyer, together with your sworn financial statement.
Meanwhile, your spouse or partner has been doing the same with his or her own lawyer and will provide his or her own sworn financial statement and disclosure.
Once we receive your spouse’s or partner’s financial information, we will be able to do the following:
- calculate child support and spousal support;
- prepare a net family property statement to determine any equalization payment owing;
- prepare an offer to settle;
- negotiate through correspondences, phone calls, settlement meetings or arrange mediation; and
- ultimately prepare a comprehensive separation agreement which the parties will hopefully execute based on the settlement of their issues.
If you retain a lawyer with the intention of immediately proceeding with litigation, in addition to your financial statement, your lawyer will also be preparing your court application.
If you retain a lawyer after having been served with court materials, your lawyer will immediately need to work on preparing your responding materials as you only have 30 days from the date you were served with an application to respond with your answer and financial statement.
Whether you are negotiating or litigating, at every point in the process, your lawyer should let you know the next steps to be taken and keep you up to date with respect to the process and procedure in your matter.
For more information on this and other issues or to schedule a free initial in-office consultation with one of our lawyers, please contact us at Feldstein Family Law Group at 905-581-7222 or www.separation.ca. Thank you.