Issues involving children and families can be emotionally challenging. When these cases go to court, it can help us to understand what family law is, what is involved and what to expect. What should we know about family law?
What is Family Law?
Family law is the legal practice focusing on adoption, child custody, paternity, divorce and other family issues. The purpose of family law is to protect and address the rights of children, and the parental responsibilities to those children. The Family Law Act was created in 1975.
The Three Family Courts of Ontario
There are three different courts involved with family law in Ontario. These three courts are the Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Ontario Court of Justice. It is necessary that you go to the correct court for your particular case. Pick the court that handles the family issues you need to deal with and is in the municipality where you and your partner both live.
• Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice: handles all types of family law and cases. If there is no Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice in the community, you will need to go to either the Superior Court of Justice or Ontario Court of Justice. This court will have fees involved.
• Superior Court of Justice: this court deals with adoption, child protection, divorce, custody and access, restraining orders, child support, spousal support, division of property and the matrimonial home. This court has fees.
• Ontario Court of Justice: the Ontario Court of Justice does not have any fees. It hears cases dealing with child protection, adoption, child support and spousal support, custody and access, restraining orders and enforcing support stated in separation agreements.
If you cannot afford the court fees, you can ask for a fee waiver. If you get one you won’t have to pay most of the fees.
What are Family Law Lawyers and What Do They Do?
Family law lawyers handle family-related issues, as well as those dealing with domestic relations. They often focus on cases involving divorce and separation, division of property, child custody, spousal support and alimony. Sometimes the matter of paternity and guardianship needs to go to court too.
You would need a family lawyer if there were problems with a divorce. The lawyer can help guide decisions about child support, assets, and alimony. Family lawyers can protect rights and ensure proceedings move along properly and at a reasonable pace.
It will benefit anyone to know about family law, family courts and family lawyers, so they are better prepared if they are ever in the position to need one. We all hope we will never need one but are in a better position knowing that they are readily available for us.
Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
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