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We asked Evan Clemence, family law lawyer at Gelman & Associates, some commonly asked questions about procedural fairness in family law cases 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 more information regarding procedural fairness in family law cases in Ontario, contact us today and schedule your consultation with an Ontario family lawyer.
What is Procedural Fairness?
A cornerstone of Canadian law, procedural fairness is a concept that refers to the process through which a legal decision is made. The law requires that courts distribute justice without discrimination. Nevertheless, biases may influence a court’s decision. A person who feels they have been unfairly judged may be eligible to appeal a decision on the basis of a failure of procedural fairness.
A failure of procedural fairness may involve misrepresentation of a party, or gaps in information. A key part of ensuring the legal process runs as fairly as possible is the honest disclosure of relevant facts from all parties involved.
The Duty to Disclose and Its Relation to Procedural Fairness in Family Law
Financial disclosure means providing the other party, their lawyer, and the Court with documentation that overviews your income, expenses, assets and debts. This information may inform the way spousal and/or child support are calculated. It may also steer decision-making concerning property division.
Parties usually have a legal obligation to provide financial statements when a separation involves negotiating spousal or child support, but there are some exceptions. Contact our Ontario family lawyers today to learn what may be relevant to your case.
Honest financial disclosure allows both parties to access comprehensive information to guide their decision-making. Disclosure can also allow each party’s lawyers to provide more informed legal advice, and help ensure procedural fairness.
The Role of Mediation and Collaborative Family Law in Divorce Justice
Mediation and Collaborative Family Law can be valuable tools in settling a divorce, but it is important to understand their roles. The goal of mediation is for the separating spouses to engage in dialogue with the assistance of a neutral third party (a mediator) and reach a mutually satisfying result. While a mediator can be a lawyer, this person does not offer legal advice during a mediation process. This is where mediation differs from Collaborative Family Law, in which the parties meet alongside their lawyers to negotiate a settlement.
Mediation is not a substitute for hiring a lawyer during a separation. It may be wise to first attempt other forms of negotiation – perhaps through Collaborative Family Law. Each party should consult with an Ontario family lawyer to receive independent legal advice (ILA), as well as assistance with completing their financial disclosure.
Contact Gelman & Associates for a Consultation to learn more about Procedural Fairness in Family Law Cases in Ontario
If you would like to learn more, or discuss the specifics of your case involving procedural fairness in Ontario, contact us at Gelman & Associates and schedule a consultation today. We have offices across Ontario in order to provide our clients with better access to justice.
Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your family law matter, please consult with an Ontario family 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.