Do We Have To Go To Court?
Q: I am married and just separated from my spouse. We have children, and a lot to sort out. Do I have to go to court to resolve everything?
A: No, you do not have to go to court. In fact, the only thing you need to go to court for is to get a divorce if you wanted a divorce. Otherwise, all other issues, including custody/access, support and property division, can all be resolved out of court. It is in fact preferable that spouses avoid court, and resolve matters between them on their own, but preferably with legal counsel to help you investigate and negotiate a resolution. There are many reasons not to go to court: it is adversarial, it is expensive, it takes a long time, and you have the least amount of control over the outcome as you are leaving the decision-making to a judge. There are several great ways to resolve matters without going to court. For instance, negotiations directly between the parties (with legal counsel if any), a “4-way meeting” between the parties the their lawyers, or mediation. Certainly, if there are important points that are not resolved, or you have an urgent situation, then court might be necessary. However, there should first be a serious effort to resolve matters “amicably” out of court first if at all possible. We do a lot of family/divorce law. I am happy to meet you for a free consultation at one of our three offices, including 8 Guelph Street, Georgetown, in the Lounsbury Life & Group Insurance Benefits building.