Hi, my name is Megan Jamieson and I am an associate with Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today, I am going to talk to you about the Mandatory Information Program.
The Mandatory Information Program, or MIP, is a requirement in the province of Ontario which mandates that separating couples attend an information session before they may proceed to court to address their family law matter.
The MIP consists of a 2-hour information session and is typically held at the courthouse where the court proceeding has been commenced. The MIP requirement began in Toronto and thereafter extended to the Brampton and Milton areas. In September of 2011, the rule that all parties must attend the MIP before proceeding with their court action became applicable in the rest of Ontario. However, attending the MIP is not required in every case. For instance, the parties are not required to attend the MIP when making an Application for a simple divorce. The requirement to attend the MIP only applies when you are commencing an Application in which you are seeking something more than a divorce such as custody or access, spousal support, child support, or property division and so on.
Essentially, you and your spouse must complete a two-hour MIP in contested family cases, and this must be done before you will be permitted to appear before a Judge to address your matter. However, both spouses do not have to attend the MIP together.
The MIP sessions are scheduled when the Applicant (the person initiating the claim) files an Application. The Applicant receives two notices when they issue their Application, one that advises them of the date of their MIP session and a second that provides the date for the Respondent’s MIP session. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to serve the Respondent’s MIP Notice upon them.
The MIP session provides participants with information about separation and the legal process and may include information on topics such as: (a) the options available for resolving differences, including alternative dispute resolution options; (b) the impact of separation on children; and (c) the resources available to address any problems arising from separation.
In cases where one party is self-represented, the MIP session serves as an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the family court process and the various alternative dispute resolution options that are available to parties.
While I encourage my clients to attempt to reach a settlement outside of the court process, in cases where it has become necessary to commence an Application, I have found that both parties are oftentimes more willing to engage in meaningful settlement discussions after having attended their MIP sessions.
If you would like to learn more about the Mandatory Information Program or the court process in general, visit our website at www.separation.ca. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation to speak with one of our lawyers about your family matter, please call us at: 905-581-7222.