In a contested divorce, there are many issues on which spouses are not in agreement with each other. The disagreements can be on many issues like property division, child support, custody issues or spousal support, amongst many more.
Since the parties differ on many issues in the divorce, the contested divorces need to be settled. There are many ways to settle an uncontested divorce like an out of court settlement, mediation or negotiation.
Compared to an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce can be more time-consuming and expensive. It is also frequently seen more in cases where couples have children, multiple properties or have been married for a long time.
Steps in a Contested Divorce
In divorce cases, where disputes exist, a proper litigation process has to be followed as per the legal rules. In Ontario, all divorce cases are governed by the rules and regulations of Family Law. A divorce case which goes into litigation involves multiple meetings with lawyers, judges and court appearances.
- Reviewing Options:
The primary step would be to consider all the options you have for settling the divorce. Before starting with the divorce proceedings, it would be advisable to figure out how both of you would like to proceed.There are different options available for a settlement like collaborative law, mediation and negotiation to decide on the issues regarding children, property and other associated matters. Having a detailed discussion with your experienced family law lawyer can help you to understand all the possible options available to you.
- Making an Application:
In a situation where spouses are not able to mutually agree on the issues, the formal court litigation remains the only option. One of the spouses (the applicant) make an application for divorce to the court noting down their conditions and expectations from the other party.Getting a Mississauga divorce lawyer by your side for the divorce filing can be helpful in making sure that your legal interests are protected at all times.
After filing the case with the court, the divorce application is served to the other party-respondent. The legal requirement of service needs to be followed.
After receiving the divorce application, the respondent needs to file a response within 30 days if present inside Canada or within 60 days if residing outside Canada. Maintaining deadlines is important to avoid the other party getting a favourable advantage due to the non-response.
- Financial Statements:
Documents relating to property and its division come under the purview of financial statements. The parties also disclose their debts, incomes, expenses and their assets.
- First Court Date:
A first court has to be set up for all cases which go through the Ontario Court of Justice. The parties file their application and the court clerk ensures that parties receive the relevant documents and the documents are filed with the court.
- Case Conference:
One case conference has to be conducted in every contested family law case. In a case conference, the judge and parties converse on the disputed issues on the family law matter.
A Motion helps if you want a temporary order on any matter by the court. Motions can be heard by both the parties on request. So, if you would like to have child custody temporarily for a week, a motion can be requested.
If the parties fail to resolve their disputes, a trial takes place. Having a family lawyer with you is the best step to make sure that the case is resolved favourably. Trials are not a preferred option due to the significant time and costs they can consume and the fact that they are in the public domain.