“Colin, My divorce is final and I am going on a cruise ship. It is my very first real holiday and I am using the money that I did not spend on a lawyer. I’ll send you a card with a BIG thank-you”.
Suzzane P. Renfrew Ontario
Four Legal Methods to End Your Marriage
1. Do Nothing
One of your options is to do nothing. If you do nothing you’ll stay married, and what’s the harm of staying married? Obviously you won’t be able to remarry until you get around to divorce, and being married will hinder any new relationship. Is that a bad thing or a good thing?
If you wait long enough your spouse may do the deed for you, and you’ll get a free divorce. Wait a little longer and your spouse may die, and you become a widow(er). In the dating game there is a real advantage to being a widow(er).
You can stay married but it is prudent to protect your rights and resolve issues with a separation agreement.
2. Hire A Lawyer
Divorce in Canada is straight-forward for those that have the know-how, but there are times when you should set aside $4,000 to $8,000 to hire a pretty good lawyer.
It is your lawyer’s task to listen to you, to collect your information, to give you timely advice, to do what is best for you, to follow the rules, devise a strategy, supervise the preparation of your legal documents, and if necessary to represent you in court.
As in any profession, there are good lawyers and bad lawyers. It’s up to you to ask the right questions and to determine which lawyer is best for you. Lawyers expect you to follow these simple rules.
Everything is not an emergency; your lawyer is not on call after business hours.
Your lawyer is not a psychologist.
Communicate honestly with your lawyer.
Take your lawyer’s advice.
Your lawyer can’t change the system, nor can your lawyer punch your divorce into ‘turbo speed’. (often a lawyer brokered divorce takes 3x longer).
Your lawyer can not circumvent the Child Support Guidelines, the Divorce Act or any other of the hundreds of rules.
Your lawyer expects to be paid on time, usually in advance by a series of retainers.
Failure to follow these rules may result in your lawyer ‘firing’ you. He/she can choose to stop representing you and withdraw from your case. This usually happens if you fail to communicate with your lawyer or fail to follow his/her advice. It may also occur if you cannot pay his/her bill.
Money is important, so try to get a firm estimate of how much money you will pay for your divorce. Unless you can negotiate a flat fee you can expect to be billed for every meeting, every phone call, every single piece of paper, and even the stamp used to send you your bill. That’s the way of it. Your lawyer is not doing you a personal favour, he/she is working for you and expects to be paid.
3. Do it Yourself Divorce
It is a general principle in law that no person needs to employ a lawyer if he/she does not want to and anyone can represent himself or herself in court. This is true of divorce just as it is of any other legal proceedings. Indeed, it is unlikely that you will be required to attend court; provided that you have been diligent with your paperwork and support documents. In fact, you can do it yourself and for you this may be a perfectly satisfactory option. You should, however, be aware of the pitfalls.
The court clerk can not give you legal advice.
There is a large learning curve required to unravel the legal requirements.
Any unclear wording will cause a simple divorce to become a nightmare, and when your spouse sees your paperwork he/she often runs to a lawyer.
Roadblocks spring up when either of you fail to agree.
There is a huge price you pay for the high frustration factor.
If you have more time than money, then fine, because a DIY divorce usually means making mistakes and those mistakes result in several trips to the court. Note: each court has several forms and if you use the wrong one your case can take forever.
Errors and omissions in your paperwork will have your case put on hold or rejected.
4. On-line Divorce Service
OK, this is not new. 15 years and counting. You may be reading this because you have seen some of the CanDivorce web pages. This method is an alternative to paying thousands to a lawyer. – The same forms, the same court rules and you can expect the same outcome – you get divorced.
How Can I get a free divorce?
Legal aid is not available for divorce. In most provinces you can apply for a waiver of court fees if you have almost no income. For waiver in Ontario see waiver
You have the right to ask the court to have your soon-to-be-ex pay your costs. It is then up to you to collect the money from your ex.
|It’s True. When you hire me to prepare your legal package your divorce goes smoothly and quickly. You make two trips to the court counter. You hand over your completed documents knowing that your papers are correct and in accordance with the Divorce Act and the Child Support Guidelines.
The fee to prepare your legal documents and guide you through the system is a modest $249. There are no hidden fees, no taxes, no handling fees, no shipping chargesSend your on-line application, it will take only 2 minutes
You divorce quickly without adversarial lawyers
Avoid the pain of going it alone.