By Donald Kilpatrick, Family Lawyer. St. Lawrence River photo.

Approach

Over the years that I have practiced family law, particularly in recent years, there has been a very positive trend or change toward resolving family law disputes, also called matrimonial disputes, through negotiation and settlement, either directly between the lawyers representing the parties or with the assistance of mediators, some of whom can act also as arbitrators.

When I represent people, my preference is to try to resolve the matters without having to resort to the court system. That, however, is not always possible. Sometimes there is no choice but to go to court, e.g. if your spouse has commenced a family court claim against you, you must respond to it. When it is necessary to go to court, I can capably represent you in bringing your claims before the court and defending claims made against you.

The Family Law Areas page gives some basic information about the most common areas of family law that people encounter. Here are three things to keep in mind.

1. The Children Come First

Many family law disputes involve children, whether it is custody, access or child support that is in dispute – sometimes it is all three – and what is most important is that the decisions will always turn on what is in the best interests of the children. Most people understand that to be so; some, unfortunately, do not.

2. Complete Disclosure

In any family law case where there is a dispute about spousal support, child support and property equalization, each party is required to voluntarily make full and complete disclosure of his or her income, deductions, living expenses, property and debts and provide documents to prove those figures. When people do that freely and willingly, things go smoothly. When people do not, things go slowly, sometimes frustratingly slowly and, in the end, it increases the cost for both parties.

3. What Family Lawyers Cannot Do but Others Can

It is quite normal, in fact it is almost always the case, that people are emotionally upset, feel angry, aggressive, guilty, depressed, etc., when their day-to-day lives are discombobulated by the break up of the family.

As family law lawyers, we can help deal with, settle or litigate all of the matrimonial issues that arise, but we can only deal with the legal issues, not the emotional fallout. There are, however, many very qualified people in the City of London and elsewhere in the province who can assist in ways that we, as lawyers, are not trained to do, and we can point you in the right direction.

© Donald W. Kilpatrick, BA, LLB, Matrimonial & Family Lawyer
478 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario N6B 2P6 Canada. Map. Phone 226-777-2220
Divorce, Separation Agreements, Cohabitation, Access, Custody, Spousal / Child Support, Equalization of Property & Litigation

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