Is Divorce Court Expensive?

There is a time and a place for court, but know that if your divorce goes to court…it is going to get expensive. Sometimes the only way we can get through to folks is to put words into dollars and cents. Going to court will be expensive…very, VERY expensive. It will require additional lawyer hours, court costs, filing fees and administrative costs. And then when it’s all done, you may not even receive the answer you were hoping for!

The court makes decisions for you

More than the costs, there is the loss of the decision making power. Think of it this way: when you go to court, someone else is going to make decisions for you, regarding two of the most important matters in your life: your children and your personal finances. Do you really want someone else making decisions about such important personal matters with no guarantee that it will go your way?

There is no Judge Judy in Divorce Court

There is NO Judge Judy in Divorce Court

Divorce Court is not what you think. The system is fundamentally  moved by strategic delays, mounds of red tape and negotiating  who runs out of resources first.

The Family Law Court is Slow

It is accepted, even by those who work within the Family Court system, that Ontario’s family law system is broken. The back log of files, the length of the cases, the amount of paper, the petty nature of so many motions, it’s debilitating to even contemplate.  According to recent studies of typical family law cases, plan that your family law file will take no less than 9 months and could last upward of five years. Now in a Post Covid 19 world, expect the backlog to be even longer.see

Spend A Morning in the Court House

The I DARE YOU Challenge:  Before you do anything.  Before you hire a lawyer, before you start a motion, simply go to the local court house… and watch.   Go sit in your local Superior Court or Unified Court (where divorce is addressed in Ontario) and just sit for 20 mins in the filing office.  Just watch and listen to the people sitting around you.

Go sit in the court room.  Watch what does and does not happen.   Watch the frenetic rushing around.  See the people sitting for hours on end.  Note the time it seems to take for the simplest process.  Breathe in the entire tone of the place.  If this is what you are chosing, at least you will have a better understanding of what to expect.

Are there better options than Court?

A better option for most people is to, instead, work towards negotiating the terms of your separation through mediators or collaborative lawyers, who will help you and your spouse, come to a viable separation agreement together. Such routes are generally faster, more emotionally empowering and notably less expensive than the family court process. 

Read what the Media has to say about the Family Law System

“Canadian Lawyer magazine’s survey on legal fees, shows that the national average estimated cost for a two-day trial is now more than $30,000. The average cost of a contested divorce was $12,000 per party.” But to get to that trial, the average cost was more than $45,000 per party."

The Real Cost of Divorce Court 1

The Unofficial Rules of Divorce:

  1. Divorce gets prickly, even in the most amicable situation
  2. It’s often less about the legalities and more about the money
  3. People make expensive mistakes because they don’t make a plan
  4. Before you do anything, understand your rights, obligations & complexities

How to Avoid A Messy Divorce

  1. Seriously consider mediation before lawyer litigation
  2. If at all possible, stay out of the Family Courts
  3. Gather and organize your financial documents
  4. Do your homework, understand how divorce works in Ontario