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We asked Evan Clemence, family law specialist lawyer at Gelman & Associates, some commonly asked questions about the divorce process in Ontario. Please be advised that these answers are not intended as legal advice, but rather as an introductory overview on a legal subject. For legal advice regarding the divorce process in Ontario, we recommend consulting with an Ontario family lawyer. 

For more information regarding the difference between settling out of court and going to court for a divorce, contact us today and schedule your consultation.

Going to Court vs. Settling Out of Court

The question of going to Court arises in many family law cases. Is it better to settle outside of the Court process, or seek a Court Order? An advantage of settling out of Court may be that it allows for private negotiations between the parties involved, without publicly disclosing private matters, as can happen in a Courtroom. However, going to Court may be necessary if one party refuses to cooperate, or consistently presents unreasonable expectations.

A good faith engagement is crucial for successful out-of-Court settlements. Both parties need to be willing to participate in the process, and must engage their own family lawyers. Settling out of Court maintains the parties’ privacy, since the agreements reached (e.g. a separation agreement) do not enter the public record.

Financial considerations can also play a role. While it may be seen as more costly to pursue a divorce in Court, out-of-Court negotiations that continually fail to result in agreement can drain valuable time and resources. A Court Order can mandate both parties to take the actions necessary to resolve their dispute – such as providing accurate financial disclosure.

A potential downside of Court proceedings is that the matter enters the public record, and hearings may be open to public observation. Due to the personal and potentially sensitive nature of a divorce, many people may not wish their intimate information to be in the public record.

A preference for an in-Court or out-of-Court settlement depends on the circumstances and individuals involved in each case. To discuss what may be right for you, contact us today to book a consultation with a divorce lawyer at Gelman & Associates.

How To Decide Which Is Right

The right path for your divorce will depend on the circumstances, including the particulars of your relationship with your former partner. While an uncontested divorce may be the least painful option, a collaborative family law process is not possible for everyone. If there is an imbalance of power, a history of abuse, or an unwillingness on the part of either party to collaborate on the terms of the divorce, then Court may be the right option. Likewise, separations that require discussion as to child support, parenting time, and decision-making responsibility may be more complex and require the guidance of a Judge’s decision.

If you and your former partner are willing to collaborate to a degree, there are several different options available for settling out of court. In a Collaborative family law process, both former partners hire their own family lawyers, and work together to draft a Separation Agreement on which they both agree.

You may also consider mediation, wherein a neutral third party works with both former partners in resolving disagreements such as property division, child support, parenting plans, and more. A mediator can be a lawyer, but they can also be a mental health professional, a clergy member, or another professional trained in alternative dispute resolution. 

For tailored insights into what form of divorce may be best suited to your needs, contact us today. Our team of family lawyers would be happy to discuss your case and see how we may be of service to you.

Contact Gelman & Associates for a Consultation on the Difference Between Settling Out of Court vs. Going to Court for a Divorce

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to go to Court or settle out of Court for your divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with the divorce lawyers at Gelman & Associates. With offices across Ontario, we prioritize our clients’ access to information and justice.

Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your divorce matter, please consult with a divorce lawyer. The content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice and is instead intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic.

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