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Building a family is a major milestone for many people across the world. Having someone to spend your day with and children to tend to is pure bliss. Indeed, the joy it brings is priceless. But, every choice we make comes with great responsibility. Marriage can both be a blessing and a burden. 

That is why you must think things through before coming to a decision. You have to understand the laws to assert your rights and determine your obligations. In this article, we will discuss the basics of Family Law in Canada. You will get some helpful tips and know the right people to go to for queries and assistance. 


Family Law in Canada

Family law is the branch of law that deals with family relationships. It is a legal practice area that revolves around family matters and other related issues. Marriage, divorce, and decision-making responsibility battles are some common things it handles. Lawyers specializing in family law can act on behalf of their clients in court hearings. They can also create legal documents such as prenuptial agreements and court petitions. 

This body of law plays a vital role in the lives of most Canadians. It focuses on the relationships between spouses and their children. Its scope varies so widely that it falls into two jurisdictions. For example, marriage and divorce are under federal jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the provincial jurisdiction handles issues like adoption and matrimonial property disputes. 

As modernization began, traditional family structures changed noticeably. With increased same-sex marriages and divorces, things have become quite complicated. In 2016, there were already over 70,000 same-sex couples in Canada, and 33% were married. Meanwhile, divorce has increased from 2.4 million to 2.8 million over the past decade. In recent years, debates over the potential amendments in family law have intensified. As such, seeking assistance from an expert like a family lawyer in Barrie is a sensible idea. 

What is Included in Family Law?

Family law in Canada remains in line with the changing family structures. Amidst the intense appeals and debates over its future, it maintains its integrity. Given its broad coverage, it includes the following aspects. 



Like in many countries, marriage in Canada can be civil or religious. In section 91(26) of the Constitution Act, 1867, it is under the authority of the Parliament of Canada. Yet, section 92(12) allows provincial legislatures to regulate marriage solemnization. The emergence of same-sex marriage had a massive impact on traditional marriage. As of 2020, there were over 14 million married couples in Canada. 



An annulment declares that the marriage has been null or void from the beginning. But even after you settle everything, the marriage record is still kept on file. Annulled couples can remarry. Annulment in Canada deals more on the legal defect of the marriage itself.  These may include: lack of legal capacity to marry; lack of consent of either party by reason of duress, coercion, fear, fraud, mental incapacity of either parties, etc.; previous existing marriage of one of the spouses; spouses who are closely related to each other; failure to consummate the marriage. 


Separation and Divorce

Separation and Divorce both arise from conflicts between the spouses. But unlike in annulment and divorce, separation does not dissolve the marriage. Separation applies to married couples and common-law or unmarried couples. For married couples, separation is usually the prelude to divorce.  For unmarried couples, separation may mean that the couple simply broke up.  


Annulment and Divorce both allow the parties to remarry. Both annulment and divorce end a marriage but differ in grounds and final result. In an annulment, the marriage record is kept on file. In contrast, a divorced person becomes single again. A divorce lawyer in Barrie can handle divorce cases with ease and prudence. In 2020, there were over 2 million divorce proceedings in Canada.

Decision-Making Responsibility (Formerly Child Custody)

Battles for decision-making responsibility, previously referred to as child custody, often come after divorce or separation. It is an important issue that lawyers must address with care and prudence. The actual proceedings and results may affect the well-being of a child. Decision-making responsibility refers to who has the right to take care and make decisions affecting the welfare of the child.. In comparison, parenting time pertains to the time spent with the child. 

With a family lawyer, parents themselves can make decision-making responsibility and parenting time (formerly child access) agreements. If they disagree on a decision, this will be taken to the family court. The couple will have to hire a divorce lawyer in Barrie, Ontario, to represent them. The court’s decision will always depend on the child’s best interests. Some factors to consider are the child’s requests and the parent’s capacity. 


A child born outside marriage is an illegitimate child. Some people call this child a bastard or a love child. In 2015, there were over 50% of infants born outside marriage. While it may sound disheartening, it is a societal issue that remains rampant. Even so, illegitimate children have the same basis of inheritance as legitimate children. In Canada, a Barrie family lawyer can help assert the right of an illegitimate child. 

Wills and Estate

Wills and estate are a subset of property law in Canada. But it is still related to family law since it deals with the family’s rights to a person’s assets after his death. Note that it is under provincial jurisdiction that rules the administration of estates. 


What Can a Family Lawyer in Barrie Do For You?

A family lawyer deals with legal issues such as rights, protections, or property relations within the family, and to some extent which may affect third parties. The rights and duties of parents and children are handled with care and expertise. Here are some of the things that a family lawyer can do for you. 

Navigating the legal system can be challenging when moving on from the abuses. A family lawyer can assert your rights and act as a legal advocate. He will help you in your battle while protecting you and your loved ones. If cases involve children, Barrie family lawyers go an extra mile to prevent trauma. 

Extensive Knowledge in Court Procedures

The court procedure can be tiring and complicated. Judges have expectations based on more than just the Family Law. A family lawyer has extensive knowledge of the law and the court rules and procedure. With that, you don’t have to be a self-represented litigant who has to fight with a lawyer. A Barrie Lawyer knows the court procedure and will not put you at a disadvantage. 

Litigants Representation in Court

Not all family disputes can be settled outside court. Many of these still end up in the family court. Given this, family lawyers can act as a representative during the proceedings. Family Lawyers have adequate knowledge, understanding, and expertise in dealing with the legal issues and procedures that will be presented in Court. If you have work to attend to, your Family Lawyer will always be present and act on your behalf. 

Objective Support

As a lawyer with expertise in handling family matters, a Family Lawyer can give all the support that you need. Family Lawyers can help you win the fight for your right.  For example, if you have a decision-making responsibility battle after the divorce, your Family Lawyer will present clearly and convincingly the proof of your worthiness to be the parent who should have the decision making responsibility over your child.

Case Efficiency

Legal proceedings can be tedious and time-consuming. The longer the case is, the more traumatic it can be, especially for a child. Having a lawyer can help in shortening the duration of the legal proceedings. He can help you look for the necessary evidence to present in court. Most family lawyers are good at family law, so they can be efficient in processing your case or appeal to the court.

Questions to Ask Your Family Lawyer During a Consultation

What is your level of experience? You must know if the family lawyer is well-versed in the law about family matters. You may check the family lawyer’s track record to know their performance in that field.
What type of cases do you usually handle and who is your typical client? It is somewhat related to the first question. With that, you will have a glimpse of the family lawyer’s experience in the field of Family Law. You must know which aspect of family law the lawyer often handles. 
How much will this cost me and how will I be billed? There are family lawyers who do not charge reasonable fees. Knowing their rates is an important concern, especially in court proceedings. You have to determine the billing options and cycle to suffice it. 
May I have copies of all documents related to my case? Family lawyers have to provide copies of documents to their clients. Of course, they have to understand and track the development of the court proceedings. You may ask for hard or soft copies. 
Are there other ways to solve my family’s legal issues? Bringing the dispute to the courts can be more expensive. Out-of-court agreements and arbitration can be done to lessen the duration and expenses. However, it is advised that you still retain the services of a Family Lawyer in order for you to have independent legal advice.


Are you facing some family issues that need to be addressed legally in Barrie? At Gelman and Associates, our family lawyers take the time to listen to the needs of our clients in order to deliver the highest level of legal representation and best possible outcome.  


Pro Tip

Some family lawyers may want to approach the case from their own perspective, but you may not feel comfortable about that without having your own input. Communicating openly with your family lawyer is always the best option.



Looking for Family Law Lawyers in Barrie? Contact Gelman & Associates Today!

If you have family disputes to settle in Barrie, hiring a family lawyer can make things easier for you. For more information, reach out to Gelman & Associates and get the support you need from them


FAQs About Family Law Lawyers in Barrie.

FAQ: Barrie Family Law Lawyers

In general, there is no right or wrong time to hire a family lawyer.    It is never too early nor too late for you to hire a family lawyer.  Remember that Family Lawyers deal with a wide array of expertise in the field.  Single individuals that already have substantial properties or business interests may already plan ahead in protecting what they already have, own, or achieved even prior to entering into marriage. 

Depending on the terms of engagement with the family lawyer or the law office, professional fees may vary.

A good family lawyer must have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of all relevant laws, procedure, regulations, and jurisprudence relating to family law.  Also, it won’t hurt that the family lawyer has good reputation and impeccable personal and professional integrity.

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