Ottawa Family Lawyer

Family law disputes tend to be among the most challenging and complex legal issues due to the subject matter and parties involved. Formalizing and ending intimate relationships, maintaining relationships with children, and dividing debts and assets can trigger deep emotional responses. Doing the legal work requires empathy and compassion as well as knowledge and skill.

An experienced Ottawa family lawyer could help you resolve and address issues involving pre-nuptial, marital, and cohabitation agreements, parenting time, spousal and child support, property division, divorce or separation, and more. Do not engage with these legal processes without representation, work with our skilled lawyers at The Riley Divorce and Family Law Firm.

Common Types of Family Law Issues

Family law encompasses many types of legal issues that family members or housemates could encounter. These issues could relate to spouses, children, roommates, property owned by the spouses, and agreements relating to such things. For instance, our lawyer commonly helps families in Ottawa with the following legal cases:

When a legal issue arises between loved ones, a steadfast family lawyer in Ottawa could assist in seeking a fair and reasonable resolution. Often, family law issues involve tense situations, so working with a knowledgeable family lawyer could make a substantial difference in resolving these matters in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Written Agreements Keep the Power in Your Hands

You could resolve many family law issues before they arise with forethought and a written agreement. A domestic contract allows you and another person to decide how you wish to handle certain issues that might arise in your relationship. If you formalize your agreement in a written document, courts will honor the contract even if it calls for a different resolution than the law typically directs.

An enforceable domestic agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties in front of witnesses. Each party must fully disclose their debts and assets to the other. Although not a legal requirement, it is advisable for each party to have independent legal counsel review the contract before signing. A court will not honor a domestic contract if:

  • One party induced the other to join the agreement through fraud, duress, or undue influence
  • One party did not make a complete financial disclosure
  • One party did not understand the agreement and its implications

Marriage Contracts

You could opt to enter a marital agreement before or during your marriage. Marriage contracts can cover property division and spousal support and call for an asset division procedure that differs from the Family Law Act’s equalization process. However, these agreements cannot cover child custody or child support. Such decisions must be based upon the child’s best interest at the time the couple separates.

Cohabitation Agreements

If you do not intend to marry, you and your partner could make a cohabitation agreement that dictates how to divide the assets you acquire while together. In contrast to married couples, cohabitating couples do not have automatic rights to share property upon separation. A cohabitation agreement could spell out each party’s rights regarding property, who will stay in the home if the couple separates, and similar issues. If you eventually marry, the cohabitation agreement converts to a marriage contract.

Separation Agreements

If you and your spouse decide to live separately, a separation agreement could ease the divorce process. Courts will honor a separation agreement that provides for child custody, parenting time, child support in accordance with federal guidelines, property division, and spousal support, if any. If you agree on all these issues and formalize the agreement, you could apply for a joint or simple uncontested divorce. The uncontested divorce procedure is faster, less expensive, and usually less emotionally triggering than a contested divorce.

Do Family Law Issues Always Require Court Intervention?

Whether or not a family law issue requires the parties to go to court depends on the type of dispute and who is involved. Some issues can be resolved without presenting before a court. Examples of alternative dispute resolution options for family law disputes include:

  • Informal negotiations between parties
  • Mediation or formal negotiations
  • Collaborative practice negotiations
  • Cooperative negotiations
  • Arbitration

Informal negotiations often take place between the parties themselves but could also include a third party to help promote fairness and legal viability, potentially making independently reached agreements one of the most cost-effective options available. If you and your spouse or partner find communication challenging, a dedicated family lawyer in Ottawa could negotiate with the partner’s lawyer to settle outstanding matters without taking the issue to court.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation is a formal negotiation involving a mediator who acts as a neutral third party to help identify the issues and work towards a mutually beneficial agreement. A legal professional could recommend a mediation service provider and could advise you about the implications of any mediated agreement.

A collaborative practice negotiation is more formal and involves the parties and legal, financial, and family relations professionals negotiating an agreement and signing a contract with a commitment not to seek court intervention. A cooperative negotiation is another type of formal negotiation process involving the parties and their lawyers or other professionals; however, there is no contract or other agreement preventing the parties from seeking court intervention if an agreement cannot be reached.

Arbitration is similar to a court hearing in that there is an appointed decision-maker, called the arbitrator, who is tasked with addressing the issues and making a decision that all parties must abide by and which is enforceable like a court order. A well-versed Ottawa family lawyer understands the many options available to individuals facing family law issues that could help avoid the court process altogether.

Contact an Ottawa Family Lawyer Today

Paul Riley offers assistance with a great range of family law issues both in and outside of divorce, some of which do not always require a hearing before a judge. Let a legal professional assist you in the negotiation of agreements and mediation of contested issues.

Our seasoned Ottawa family lawyers understand your interests in adopting an effective, cost-efficient, and timely approach to resolving your legal issue. Call any time, day or night, for a case consultation on your family law matter.

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