Heading To Divorce Court – But Which One?

Last week, we started the first in a series of blog posts aimed at uncovering the basics of traditional court divorce. We’ve already looked at why some families choose litigation over out-of-court methods. This week, we discuss the various courts that handle divorce and why it’s important to choose the right one.

Choice Of Courts

In Ontario, three different courts deal with family issues:

  • The Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice
  • The Superior Court of Justice
  • The Ontario Court of Justice

Finding The Right Court Is Paramount

All three courts deal with family law, but not on the exact same issues. For example, the Ontario Court of Justice does not decide divorce or property division matters.

In some cases, an applicant may decide to bring a certain issue to one court, but take other issues to a different court. Picking the wrong one could mean spending more time and money than necessary. A lawyer can run through the appropriate options and weigh the advantages of one court over another. Some of these considerations include:

  • Filing fees
  • Legislation used
  • Complexity of court procedures
  • Speed of processing
  • Paperwork requirements
  • Choice of court locations
  • Legal costs awards

The Rules On Where To Go

Ontario’s Family Law Rules also contain specifics on determining the right court. In family law, an applicant must start a case in a court that:

  1. Deals with the family law issues to be resolved, and
  2. Is in the municipality closest to where either of the former partners resides
  3. For custody or access matters, is in the municipality where the child resided before the parents split up.

Once the proper court has been selected, documents must be created and distributed to all involved. Our next post will discuss serving documents to a former partner and any other people or organizations involved in the case.

Separating or divorcing?

Call us.

Our lawyers can guide you through your options.

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