You probably did not stand up on your wedding day and picture getting a divorce. However, life happens, circumstances change, and people can grow apart. Whether you and your former partner are in a heated fight or amicably deciding to separate, making the decision to get a divorce can be incredibly overwhelming. Not only do you have to deal with emotional distress and major changes in your everyday life, but you also have to consider how to divide up property and if you need legal assistance.
Although no legal professional can take away the difficult emotions you’re dealing with at this time, the right lawyer can make the process of dissolving your marriage as simple and straightforward as possible. When you seek legal guidance, you can take a bit of weight off of your shoulders and rest assured that your divorce attorney can support you and work to ensure that everything goes smoothly. With over 22 years of experience, Stephanie J. Squires can be the lawyer you need to fight for your desired outcome.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Divorce in Ontario?
While you do not technically need to hire a lawyer to get a divorce in Ontario, a lawyer can be extremely helpful in streamlining the process and working to ensure you end up with what you need. The legal arena is also quite complicated, and it can be confusing to navigate all the paperwork, meetings, and steps alone. Your lawyer is no stranger to this, though, and can be there to help you prevent expensive mistakes and avoid adding more emotional stress to your life.
A lawyer is also particularly helpful if you and your former partner disagree about major decisions. Even if you think you and your partner will be fine when it comes time to divide up precious property or talk about child support, people often face intense conflicts that they never thought possible. These disputes can have particularly negative impacts on kids, so working with a lawyer at this time is in the interest of you and your family. Whether it’s representing you in a battle for child visitation rights, full or half custody, or child support payments, your lawyer has been through it all before and knows the ropes. They can work to protect your rights and to negotiate the ideal outcome for you.
How Can an Ontario Divorce Lawyer Help?
There are countless ways that Ontario divorce lawyers can help you as you make the big decision to dissolve your marriage. From filing error-free paperwork to advocating for you if your case gets to the courtroom, your lawyer can make your life a lot easier at this time. As you deal with the emotional turmoil of separating from your partner and navigating potentially unforeseen legal obstacles, you’ll be glad you hired a legal professional to manage your affairs in this tumultuous emotional time. Plus, even though legal fees can be frustrating, you might end up paying more for legal support if you attempt to go through your divorce alone and worsen your legal situation.
Your family lawyer can handle all of the following things for you and more:
- Help You Understand Your Rights: Divorce laws are complicated, and you might not understand what you are and are not entitled to during the dissolution of your marriage. Your lawyer can listen to your questions and concerns from the start and work to make sure you develop an in-depth understanding of how divorce works. Without such informed guidance, you might miss out on an opportunity to leave the marriage with invaluable assets, from real estate you love to time with your children.
- File Your Paperwork: Like most legal processes, getting a divorce can require filing and sorting through piles of paperwork. In order to make the divorce process as fast and uncomplicated as possible, it is crucial that you fill out all this paperwork correctly. Your lawyer can make sure you do this and help you understand all of the paperwork you need for your particular case.
- Negotiate on Your Behalf: Many divorce cases will not end up going to court and will be settled because each party’s lawyers are able to come to an agreement. Your lawyer can stand up for your rights and needs during this negotiation and draw on their knowledge of the legal system to help you walk away with what you want.
- Advocate for Your Rights: Fighting for what you want and need is important in any divorce, but especially when the other party is fighting back and refusing to give you what you want. Having a lawyer by your side can help you ensure you are able to fight for what you want. Some of the potential things you can fight for include:
- Property Division: When you end your marriage, you will have to separate all of the property you share, be it from investments and dividends to vacation homes and collectibles. Your lawyer can help you navigate this tricky process and help smooth over any disputes that arise as you try to untangle who should leave with what.
- Child Custody: Fighting for what you want is always important, but if you are a parent, it can mean everything. Your relationship with your children might already be strained due to your divorce, and losing time with them in a custody agreement can do even more damage. Also, if you are dealing with a custody battle, you might find yourself facing backlash from your former partner and even sometimes false accusations about your parenting. Your lawyer will collect and use evidence to stand up for you and fight for what you deserve.
- Review Documents: In a lengthy divorce process, you might find yourself receiving potential settlements or other important papers that have significant implications for what you’ll end up with. Your lawyer can carefully review any documents to make sure you don’t make any decisions that are not in your interest.
- Help With Alternative Dispute Resolution: If you don’t want to go to court to resolve disputes with your former spouse, you are not alone. Your lawyer can help you pursue other options for resolution, like arbitration and mediation, if you are interested in a shorter, cheaper path to moving on.
- Protect You During Conflict: If you’re entering into a nasty separation, your former partner might try to use their legal support to trap you in an unfair settlement. Without a legal background, you might not realize that the settlement you’re about to agree to is unfair and that you could have ended up with more. With a lawyer by your side, you can avoid this outcome and only proceed with a settlement that is just for all involved.
- Outline Tax Implications: The last thing you probably want to think about right now is taxes, but it is important to consider the tax implications of your divorce so you do not have any surprises come filing season. They can also come up with strategic plans to minimize the impact on your taxes.
How Can I Get a Quick Divorce in Ontario?
The amount of time that your divorce will take you in Ontario will depend on what you and your partner want out of it. If you have an uncontested divorce, meaning that you and your partner do not disagree on how to divide property, your divorce can be completed in a swift manner. You can often expect an uncontested divorce to take just a few months.
Even if you think you and your partner will proceed with an uncontested divorce, consulting a divorce attorney to evaluate your circumstances and protect your assets in the event that things change is still a good choice to protect yourself in this situation.
On the other hand, you might find yourself dealing with a contested divorce. This is the case if you and your partner do not agree on how to split up your assets. You will likely need legal support to represent you in disagreement and are looking at a much lengthier process than an uncontested divorce. These tense divorces usually take anywhere from six months to several years. The most effective way to ensure your contested divorce is as quick as it can possibly be is to rely on an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the steps.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce?
It is completely understandable to be concerned about how to pay the legal fees for your divorce. The price of legal support can be expensive these days, and adding financial strain to your list of worries during this stressful time is not ideal. However, legal support can define what you walk away with and can give you priceless protection from losing things that are important to you.
Every person’s divorce is different, and the cost that you will face for your divorce will depend on the unique factors at play. For instance, a contested divorce that involves a long, drawn-out child custody battle will likely be more expensive than an uncontested divorce that just requires an application and a simple settlement. If you are getting a simple divorce in Ontario, you can usually expect to pay at least $700, but your divorce can cost thousands of more dollars if it is contested. When you consult with your lawyer for the first time, they can set your expectations for how long of a process you might be looking at, as well as what legal fees might end up being involved.
How Do I Get a Divorce?
If you think you are ready to start the process of getting a divorce in Ontario, you will need to follow the following steps. Remember, the right Ontario divorce attorney can help you with each one of these parts of the process and help ensure you understand them before you start.
- File Case Paperwork: If you are the one filing for divorce, you are called the petitioner. You will need to file a lot of important paperwork with the court, including a Summons, a Petition-Marriage/Domestic Partnership, and a Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act if you have children with your partner.
- Serve the Other Party: Another adult will then serve the paperwork you filed to the other party, the respondent, as well as blank forms for them to fill out. They will have thirty days to respond with a Response-Marriage/Domestic Partnership form and Proof of Service of Summons.
- Wait for the Other Party’s Response: The other party has 30 days to respond to the summons. If they don’t respond, you can automatically proceed. If they respond and agree, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce and file forms like the Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers, the proposed Judgment, and your Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure as well as the Final Declaration of Disclosure. If the other party responds, but you do not reach an agreement, you will have to go before a judge to work out the issues.
Contact an Experience Ontario Divorce Lawyer
No matter where you are in your divorce or what your concerns about the process are, you can reduce your stress by reaching out to a knowledgeable divorce attorney to handle your case. At the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires, we understand the complex emotions you are facing at this time and the confusion you might have about all of the steps in the divorce process. From worries about the cost of separation to fear of losing custody of your children, we’re here to listen to your needs.
Your Ontario divorce attorney can stand up for your rights and help you achieve the optimal outcome in this difficult situation. Ms. Squires has over two decades of experience supporting people dissolving their marriages and is here to stand by your side every step of the way. We know that every single divorce is different, and we can listen to your unique questions, concerns, and needs. Reach out to our office today to take the first step to making this process easier.