What are Family Law Pleadings?
In general, family law pleadings are a formal document that is filed with the courts. It “pleads” or, “asks” the court to administer some type of “relief”. The contents of any pleading will often differ depending on the reason why it’s being filed. But in general, it might include petitions, replies, motions, answers or complaints.
Sometimes, signing something like a separation agreement fails. After continued correspondence, you really have no other choice but to initiate a court proceeding. But you should think hard before you do. Be sure that choosing litigation is your best option. So, most of the time before filing a pleading, always try everything else first.
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Your Future Relationship With Your Ex
You might be fuming with anger towards your ex. But be aware that’s how you feel RIGHT NOW. You might not be so upset after a year or two. If there are no kids involved, you might just be able to walk away from each other’s lives. But if you do have children, that option is non-existent. Your relationship as parents will always be there, even if you’re not together anymore. The courts will want to see that your children are protected before approving your divorce.
Your Relationship With Your Children
Your kids will be aware when you are fighting conflict with your spouse. It will be difficult for them to understand that, regardless of their age. When parents are involved in a court proceeding, it will be difficult to safeguard the children. The kids almost always get involved in the litigation. Sometimes your kids will be used as leverage in the court battles. This might affect your children in ways that you never expected.
Read more: File For Separation Without A Lawyer
Be Aware Of Your Own Emotions
Litigation will always be uncertain. No lawyer will ever guarantee that you will be successful in any issue. In the end, a judge – someone who knows nothing about what you feel, will decide about the things that matter to you most. The judge’s decision will always be in favor of one party, inside of being something in the middle. On top of that, litigation, without a lawyer, will stress you out as court procedures are not consumer-friendly.
The documents and processes will be a whole new ball game to you. Anxiety and uncertainty will always be with you during every court appearance.
Consider Your Budget
If ever you decide to get a lawyer, encourage your lawyer to keep you outside of court if possible. A lawyer can often help you breeze through things without going through all the fuss. But if you cannot keep your emotions in check, you’ll pay a huge fee, especially if you make it all the way to trial. Without a lawyer, litigations can still be expensive, if you lose your case, you might be prompted to pay for the other side’s fees as well. Court fees can also be expensive, sometimes $200-600 every time you do something.
Remember these things, since they are essential in any pleadings that might happen.
Family Law Pleadings- The Application
The first step in any family law court proceeding is normally called the application. It’s a written document that is sent to the court. In an application, the “applicant spouse’s” lawyer will often ask the court to award relief. It also normally provides an overview of the case.
Also, the lawyer will “plead” or procure the facts to form the basis for the relief that the client is claiming.
This will be the applicant’s spouse’s opportunity to advise the court about their story. It might explain the situations of marriage and talk about their ideas for what will be best for their kids. Since an application is a file that will generally start a court proceeding, it must be served to the “responding spouse” properly.
What this means is that a process server often must serve the application into their hands in order for the application to be in effect. Has an applicant spouse started a disputed court proceeding? They will often need to submit the application along with their financial statement but speak with a lawyer to confirm. The financial statement is a file that the applicant’s spouse’s lawyer would prepare. It states the applicant’s spouse’s assets, expenses, income, and liabilities. Sometimes it includes other information.
The information below is USA based, but you still might find it interesting and helpful.
Family Law Pleadings- Financial Statements For Divorce
There’s are a couple of different types of financial statements used. It sometimes depends on if they are married or not. The type of crucial information might be different in each case. For your lawyer to be able to complete the Financial Statement, your accurate and full financial statement must be submitted to them. Full financial disclosure is a trademark of the family law system and, as such, it is very seriously taken by the courts.
This is the reason why any spouse submitting a financial statement must appear at their lawyer’s office and insist that the contents of the document are true. Financial Statements must be updated on a consistent basis in order to keep the court up to date to any changes in the parties’ financial conditions.
Responding To The Other Spouse’s Evidence
The Answer is the document that the responding spouse will use to address the claims put forth in the Application. The responding spouse would advise the court if they agree or not with the claims stipulated in the Application and also will have to forth any additional facts that they feel that the court should really know. Also, the responding spouse is given an opportunity to make claims of their own if they feel that the Application has necessary types of relief absent.
The responding spouse should be able to submit their Answer within 30 days of receiving the Application. Failure to do so will mean that the applicant’s spouse can proceed in their court action without any other notification to the responding spouse. This would entail that the applicant spouse can have a trial before a Judge without the responding spouse’s evidence.
For this reason, it is important that you talk to a lawyer as soon as you receive the Application. A financial statement can be provided as well, and the same rules would apply.
Family Law Pleadings- They Will Have To Reply
Once the applicant’s spouse has received an answer, they will have the chance to submit a reply. There will be a time limit on the reply depending on the state or province. The reply will give the applicant spouse a chance to answer anything raised by the respondent spouse. The applicant’s spouse is sometimes not permitted to raise any new evidence or claims in the reply.
So, all in all, make sure you have everything well planned out before starting. If you’re the one creating the pleading, or if you need help replying, we can connect you to the best lawyers that serve the entire Ontario and BC province. Here at Clearway Law, we are here to help you out. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
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