Need to speak with Toronto family lawyers? You can book a consultation to get advice on divorce, marriage, and separation. When going through a family law issue, it’s very difficult.
Things like separation and divorce can destroy people’s lives. It can leave people in the same financial position they were in 20 years ago.
What is the point of working hard for 20 years just to end up in the same spot? It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right lawyer, they can save you time, stress, and money.
If you have children, they need to be taken care of. If things go to court, the judge is going to rule what is in the best interests of the children.
Therefore, it makes sense for you to do things right from the beginning. You might be able to save yourself $5000 and get a lawyer to create a separation agreement.
However, if you have a family law problem in Toronto, and you fight with everyone, including your lawyer, you are going to have hard times.
We put together this article for those who need help from a family law lawyer in Toronto.
Read on to learn more about Ontario family law before reaching out to family lawyers. You need to gather information.
Toronto family lawyers ratings
There is no credible family lawyer rating system in Canada as of the creation of this blog. None of the rating systems we looked into check if a review came from a real client or not.
This means that competitors can leave fake negative reviews. And of course, law firms can leave fake positive reviews about themselves.
Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, and there are lots of lawyers to choose from. So how do you know which one is the best for you? How do you pick a law firm?
Should you look for the cheapest option, the most expensive, or something in the middle?
Lawyers are not like food. When you go grocery shopping, you might pick the place that costs the least. Buying apples at Walmart feels the same as shopping at Whole Foods.
Sure, Whole Foods is nicer, and the food might be organic, whatever that means. But are you willing to spend an extra 30% on food for the experience?
Lawyers are a completely different thing, most of the time. If you are dealing with purchasing a house, and you are forced to use a lawyer, you can go for a cheaper option. That makes perfect sense.
You are just trying to meet a bare minimum requirement.
Pick A Lawyer Based On Your Price Range
But when you are dealing with something serious, like a divorce, you need experienced Toronto family lawyers. You might not need the best, which would be very expensive.
However, you will definitely need some top lawyers with more than five years of experience.
Not only do you need an experienced lawyer in order to win your case, but it will also save you money. Let’s say a junior family lawyer in Toronto costs $250/hour.
It takes them ten hours to do something you asked them to do because they are new to family law. This would cost you $2500.
Experienced Toronto family lawyers might cost $400/hour. However, they might be able to get the thing done in four hours. This would cost you $1600.
It’s worth mentioning that the average person who goes through a separation or divorce is completely unrealistic about how much it’s going to cost.
We have had people contact the lawyers asking for a $400 divorce. Not only would that mean that the lawyers are not getting paid, but it wouldn’t even cover the court fees.
Divorce Is Complex
We feel instead of misleading people, that it’s better to be upfront with how complex divorce can be. If you don’t have any children, property, or income, you can probably do your divorce yourself.
You won’t be able to afford a lawyer anyway.
However, if you have property and children, you are going to either need to get a court order from a judge, or a separation agreement. You will need one of these two things before a judge approves your divorce.
If you file the divorce paperwork without these key documents, you will pay the court fee which is around $450. You will then have to wait about half a year.
Then you will get something in the mail saying your divorce was rejected.
The Judge Needs To Sign Your Divorce Paperwork
Even if you have the Ontario separation agreement, there might have been an issue with it. For example, you might not have done the ILA or the judge might not think the agreement is fair.
If one spouse gets everything (or a lot) and the other is left to poverty, the judge probably won’t sign the divorce papers.
Those that don’t hire Toronto family lawyers often make these sorts of mistakes. Other times, some key things might have been left out of the court order of the separation contract.
For example, you might have dealt with the child support and property division, but you didn’t deal with the custody and spousal support. By the way, spousal support is commonly known as alimony, but it’s an American term.
Toronto family lawyers legal aid
The judge is going to want to know that you have dealt with all the issues before they sign the divorce paperwork. The most important parts are what is regarding the child.
At this point, you have probably heard about the best interests of the child. This means that the judge wants to see a plan that is going to take care of the child.
This can include the child having a stable environment, enough resources to thrive, and obviously safety. Normally the plan should involve both of the parents.
The exception to this is if one of the spouses is dangerous, which would need to be proven in court.
Some people think they can just make wild accusations in court and the judge is going to order them full custody. This is not how the justice system works.
This sort of unrealistic thinking is also why people think that their lawyer doesn’t need to spend many hours on their file.
We have legal aid lawyers in Toronto. If you do not qualify for legal aid, you will need to find the money, or borrow it. We don’t mean to be harsh. We feel it’s better to be honest. Everyone wants legal aid, but few qualify.
Divorce And Separation Is Not Simple
People always tell the Toronto lawyers that their separation and divorce are going to be a simple one. People never admit to the lawyer, or to themselves, that their divorce is super complicated.
The more debt, children, and property you have, the more complex it is. If you are fighting with your spouse, it’s automatically an expensive file. You can forget the separation agreement and voluntary financial disclosure.
Everything needs to be by court order, which is expensive.
If there are spouses in different cities or provinces it’s more complex. The Toronto lawyer will have to put together a plan for the child to see their parents in both cities or provinces.
If one of the spouses is not from Canada, it’s even more complex.
If you have property not in Ontario, it’s complex. When you are reaching out to law firms and not getting replies, it’s probably because you said something that is not realistic.
Here is an example of an email to a law firm that would probably not be replied to.
Toronto family lawyers free consultation
“Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m from downtown Toronto. I have two houses and a child. My spouse and I are arguing, so I want a quick divorce. I’m looking for a lawyer who can do it for cheap and quick.
It’s a simple matter, and I already downloaded a divorce form. I just need a lawyer to quickly check it.”
Perhaps before reading this article, you might have thought this wasn’t a silly request. Hopefully, now you understand why a law firm wouldn’t respond to it.
When the lawyer does a bunch of work on the file, the client is going to be upset. Law firms would rather not work with a client that is guaranteed to get upset.
There is a stereotype that lawyers are just in it for the money. That’s like saying that someone takes a job as a manager at Home Depot just for the money. Obviously, they want to get paid, because they have bills to pay.
But someone who applies for a job doesn’t want to be miserable doing it. You want to get paid at your job, and you want to enjoy life. Lawyers do too. There is nothing sneaky or dishonest about this.
Most Toronto family lawyers love their job. But they will be selective about which clients they let in through the door. Sadly, family law attracts a lot of people with mental health issues.
Maybe the divorce has caused someone to “lose it.” Lawyers are very careful about this, as these sorts of clients cause more issues than what they pay.
The Lawyers Approach to Family Law
The lawyers help their clients navigate the landscape of dealing with their legal family issues. Dealing with a family issue is no easy task. Therefore, you will want to make sure you have a lawyer.
This will make the process as easy as it can be for you.
Toronto family lawyer free consultation
Sadly, family law in Ontario is not user-friendly. Many people have to move to part-time work so that they can handle their separation or divorce.
We are unsure why someone would prefer to make tens of thousands of dollars in less income than pay a lawyer $2000. However, some people in Toronto are like that.
There are both provincial and federal family laws. To be honest, it’s extremely complicated. It takes lawyers many years of experience before they become family law experts.
There is also a different Family Law Act in BC and Ontario.
We have included some basics about the Family Law Act below.
Marriage is not common law. There is no such thing as a common-law marriage. The only way to end a marriage is from a court order. There are court fees even if you decide to try your best.
If you make mistakes and don’t cover everything, the court will reject your divorce application.
A Toronto family lawyer can help you with a cohabitation agreement. This is not a marriage agreement. It’s for when you plan to live together.
Common-law disputes are being very common. Therefore, it’s important to have a cohabitation agreement. If you end up getting into a bad legal battle, it can cost you a lot of money.
Separation Toronto lawyer
Do not use an online calculator. They simply do not work. There are many things that must be considered for child support.
If the court doesn’t agree with your calculations, they will order you to get a separation agreement done. This might delay you by six months.
Separation for one year is the most common reason for divorce. The courts will want to see that your marriage is completely broken before they approve a divorce.
We believe separation agreements are the most important document in family law disputes.
Normally you will get a separation agreement and then file for divorce. They are not the same thing.
Toronto Divorce Court Proceedings
If you cannot get a separation agreement signed, you will likely need to start court proceedings. The further things go along in a family law dispute, the more expensive it will be.
Family law court proceedings will likely cost you between $5000- 10,000. Some lawyers will like and say it won’t be expensive. This is likely just to try and get a client. Court proceedings are always expensive.
This is even more true if you represent yourself and your spouse has a lawyer.
If you lose, you might have to pay your spouse’s legal fees.
Get in touch with a Family Lawyer today!
Family Law Pleadings
Family law pleadings start off the litigation process. They explain to your spouse (and the court) the facts that you think matter. You do not include evidence in family law pleadings.
If you make mistakes in the first thing you file, it’s not a good start.
There will be a court fee (normally $200) for filing pleadings.
The other side will then have to file a reply within the time period. If they don’t reply, you will likely get a default judgement. This means you automatically win!
Some people fight so hard during a separation that they destroy themselves. Speak to a lawyer early in the process to reduce the chance of this.
The Toronto Family Lawyers Represent Various Kinds of Cases
The top lawyers provide services for several different family law services. This includes custody, guardianship, child support and divorce. Also, make sure to ask us about separation agreements.
Further, the lawyers can assist with dispute resolution. This is often mediation with the goal of signing a separation agreement at the end.
Are you looking for the best family law lawyer in Toronto?
No lawyer or law firm in Toronto can call themselves the best family law lawyer. But there are steps you can take to separate the bad, good, and best Toronto family lawyers.
Do your research to find the best family law lawyer for you. Some lawyers focus on saving money, some lawyers focus on being aggressive and getting the issue resolved quickly.
Step 1: Find a lawyer that does your area of law
Type “family lawyer” instead of just “Toronto lawyer.”
You don’t want to hire a lawyer that does every kind of law. Find a lawyer that focuses on family law. There are lawyers that focus on different areas of law.
Step 2: Research their website before you call. Make sure the firm looks like a good fit.
Are you looking for an aggressive lawyer? If you are, be prepared to spend $5000/month on legal fees. Are you looking for a lawyer that is more junior and will keep costs low? Know what you are looking for.
Some people call us asking for help getting full custody. We tell them it would be a $15,000 retainer. Suddenly most want to negotiate!
Step 3: Best Family Law Lawyer- Review their online reviews
This is important but be careful. If we are talking about family law, keep in mind that a very small percentage of clients will want to leave reviews. A family law firm is not a restaurant.
A restaurant might be able to have hundreds of online reviews, but law firms won’t. Most law firms that have not “bought fake reviews” should have between 5-50 reviews.
If the law firm has fewer than 5 reviews, the lawyer might not have a lot of clients. You should question the reason for this.
Step 4: Know the lawyer’s hourly rate and retainer amount
Junior lawyers will normally be around $250/hour. The most senior lawyers might be around $700/hour. Know what you are looking for in a lawyer. Be clear with the law firm upfront.
If you have legal aid, you very likely will get someone who is a new lawyer looking for more experience (and to be able to pay their bills.) Senior lawyers normally have lots of clients, so they can pick and choose who they work with.
Step 5: Keep in mind other options for resolving the dispute
You and your spouse can also resolve the issues in the following ways:
- Negotiation (legal letters)
By default, when you get married, you and your spouse are in an equal economic partnership. If you get divorced, any assets you purchase or received during the marriage will likely be divided in half.
Any increase in the value of assets you brought into the marriage might be divided in half. You and your spouse will have to decide who will move out of the home or if the home will be sold.
Normally one spouse just buys out the other spouse. Banks often require a professional separation agreement done by a lawyer (not some random online template) before lending money to buy out a spouse.
These are guidelines and there are exceptions. Family law can be unpredictable which is why it’s important to hire a family lawyer will actual first-hand experience.
Best Family Law Lawyer
When you get married, the law treats your marriage as an equal economic partnership.
If your marriage ends, the value of the property you acquired while you were married and the increase in the value of the property you brought into your marriage will be divided in half: one half for you and one half for your husband or wife.
There are exceptions to this rule. The law also provides that you and your husband or wife have an equal right to stay in the family home. If you separate, you will have to decide who will continue to live there.
In addition, Ontario’s family laws provide that you may be entitled to financial support for yourself and your children when your marriage ends.
Toronto family law rules
If you don’t like the default family law rules, you can make your own rules in a marriage agreement. But make sure you do it correctly. Countless people don’t want to spend $3000 on getting a proper marriage agreement done, so they just download it online.
These templates are super simple and will likely not match all your legal needs.
Spending $3000 on a marriage agreement now can save you a lot of money in the future.
I’m not sure who the best family law lawyer is, but you can do your own research and find one that works hard for you!
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law. We switched from being a law firm to a lead generation service in March 2020. We can still connect you with a lawyer in Toronto.