According to numbers released by Statistics Canada in 2008, nearly 41% of marriages were projected to end in divorce before the couple could complete thirty years of marriage. These numbers have remained quite stable over the decade since they were revealed.
Whatever the nature of the issues involved, divorce remains a situation in which several important and life-altering decisions have to be made regarding children, parenting, property division, present and future financial security etc. There are several rights, entitlements and responsibilities to be taken into account.
In certain cases, safety may be a concern if the divorce is being sought on grounds of physical/emotional cruelty or violence towards spouse/children. Protection will have to be provided by the provincial authorities.
The Federal Department of Justice can provide information and help to resolve issues without having to go to court. The local community may also offer several services to meet your needs in this very difficult time.
An experienced divorce/family/separation lawyer can ensure that these aspects are understood clearly by both parties, agreements are arrived at and enforced. Though each situation is unique, the main focus remains on making the process swift, simple, smooth and cost-effective.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
In Canada, the Divorce Act provides grounds for divorce: adultery, physical/mental cruelty and separation for more than a year.
Proceedings can be Uncontested or Contested. In contested divorce, the parties are unable to agree about getting divorced itself or on the terms of divorce. Terms may include alimony, child support, custody of children, division of assets and liabilities etc. A “simple” divorce is one in which only a divorce is sought, without any reference to property-division, support, child-custody etc. Joint divorce needs both parties to sign on the paperwork.
In an uncontested divorce, the couple reach an agreement on all these issues. A sole/uncontested divorce is when one party files for divorce and papers are served on the other party. An experienced uncontested divorce lawyer can get these terms and conditions legally binding on paper and ensure that they are signed, witnessed.
Sometimes, couples start the proceedings of a contested divorce, but may come to an agreement mid-way and the case may proceed as an uncontested divorce. This is known as a “settlement” and neither spouse may appeal it since both are presumably satisfied with the terms.
Most judges and divorce lawyers prefer uncontested situations, since they are swifter, easier and less stressful for all concerned.
What Are The Costs?
Couples are concerned about the costs especially when they are not high-income earners or young.
A study conducted by the CanadianlawyerMag website revealed:
- In uncontested cases, average fees charged by lawyers range between $801 and $1608, with an average of about $1043 per case. For contested cases, the fees range between $5743 – $33,881 with an average of about $9981 per case.
- Disbursements and filing fees are extra. They include court filing fee, cost of certificates and process serving. Discovery, appraisal, mediation, financial audit, etc may run into hundreds of dollars extra. Additionally, lawyers may charge for photocopying, mailing, postage, etc.
In contested cases, there are usually two lawyers involved, hence costs could be doubled.
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