How long does it take to obtain a divorce?
It varies whether the divorce is uncontested or not. A divorce is considered uncontested if a party is seeking a divorce and is not making any other claims such as for division of property or child custody that might be opposed by the other spouse.
If an uncontested divorce is being sought, normally it takes between 3-5 months to obtain a divorce. Please note that the most common ground for seeking a divorce is a 1 year period of separation. As such, if a divorce is being sought based a 1 year period of separation, it is necessary to wait 1 year before the divorce application will be processed by the court.
If there are other issues in dispute, normally it takes much longer to obtain a divorce, possibly 1 year or longer. On motion, it is possible to separate the issue of divorce from all other issues and obtain a divorce sooner. However, such a motion should only being sought when there is urgency to needing a divorce.
Do I have to disclose all of my finances to my spouse?
Typically it is necessary to disclose all of your assets and debts to your spouse in order to make a separation agreement enforceable or to proceed with your family law court case. The Family Law Act makes financial disclosure a requirement before entering into any separation agreement.
Financial disclosure may not be required for a parent in a court case where child support under the Child Support Guidelines is being sought, the other parent is not seeking child support and when there are no other financial issues in dispute.
How long will it take before my case goes to trial?
Normally after a court application is started, the family law application will be served (delivered) onto the other party. After the party is served with the family law application, the party being served will have 30 days (60 days if outside of North America) to serve and file an Answer.
If an Answer is filed, typically a case conference is scheduled. There may be more than one case conference held. A case conference involves a discussion of the issues before a judge. A judge has the ability to make orders at a case conference but will typically be reluctant to make certain orders unless it is on consent.
After a case conference, a judge may schedule a settlement conference. A settlement conference is like a case conference but requires each party to make a settlement proposal.
After a settlement conference, a judge may schedule a trial management conference or schedule the matter for assignment court. It is only then will a trial date might be set. Normally it takes 1 year or longer from when the court application was started before a trial date is set.
After the first case conference, a party typically has the ability to bring a motion to seek orders that are not on consent. It is possible to bring a motion prior to the first case conference however the test for urgency must be met.
Judges strongly encourage settlement of cases. Over 90% of court cases are resolved prior to trial.
How much will my case cost me?
The cost will depend on a number of factors including the complexity of the case, the level of cooperation between the parties and the willingness of the parties to reach an agreement. Some cases can be resolved quickly at little expense while other cases can continue for 1 year or longer.
At Sage Harvey, Barrister & Solicitor, we never seek to bill you unless we have provided a significant amount of value in the services provided. While saving money on legal fees is important, the effect of a family court order or agreement is typically very significant and long-lasting. As such, retaining a lawyer who is competent in family law is usually well worth the investment.