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Our Toronto & Kingston family lawyers are here to help you with your divorce or separation.
Our Divorce Services
We are located in the heart of downtown Toronto and Kingston
We serve Toronto, Kingston, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and many surrounding areas, including Oshawa, Brampton, Napanee, Belleville, and Brockville.Contact Us
Divorce with Children
How your children are affected by divorce.Learn more
Family Lawyers & Divorce Lawyers | Kingston & Toronto
Our Toronto and Kingston family lawyers and are here to help you with your divorce or separation.
At Aaries Family Law, you are in charge of how your case is handled. Let us know your desired budget, services, and timeframe and we will approach your case with a plan that best suits your needs. Our family lawyers will provide you with outstanding customer service and solid legal advice.
Our offices are located in the heart of downtown Toronto and downtown Kingston.
Our Toronto office is in the Bay and Dundas area. We serve all courthouses in the Greater Toronto Area.
Our Kingston office is located at Brock and Wellington.
When you are divorcing or separating, contact our Kingston family lawyers at 613-453-2275, or our Toronto family lawyers at 416-970-0412 for advice.
Our divorce lawyers specialize in:
Choosing a Family Lawyer
You need to be informed when choosing a family lawyer.
Middle Class Family
If you are a middle class family – then you have to understand that court is very expensive. You will want to settle your family law issues outside of court through negotiation, mediation, and collaborative family law. You have to be reasonable with your expectations. If you can find a reasonable resolution to your legal issues without a judicial determination, you need to seriously consider agreeing to it.
The reality is that court is always expensive and that effective legal representation cannot cut corners. If you plan on taking things to court, be prepared to pay. Even if you pay, the court process is uncertain. You never know how a judge will decide a case and it is not uncommon for both parties in a court case to be unhappy with the judge’s decision.
If you do go to court, you need to be prepared to come to an agreement with the opposing party at some point before trial. Most cases finalize at some stage before trial and the judge’s expect you to try to work things out before a trial is even contemplated.
If one party wants to take the case to court, then the other party is forced to defend themselves in court. Out of court options only work if both parties are willing to participate.
Make sure that your lawyer is honest with you about the costs of divorce, and informs you of your options including mediation, negotiation, limited-scope retainers, and uncontested divorce. Make sure your lawyer is settlement focused and encourages you to make reasonable and cost-effective decisions.
A limited scope retainer allows you to represent yourself (you will be a self-represented party in court). The family lawyer will do limited tasks for you – tasks which you specify. You pay for a lawyer’s advice when you need it and otherwise you do the rest of the work yourself.
Another option is for your divorce lawyer to draft a separation agreement for you which you take to your former partner.
Make sure that your family lawyer speaks with you about costs. The court process is designed to encourage settlements. Your lawyer will advise you on making and accepting settlement offers. If you reject a good offer – you will likely be stuck covering the legal costs for your former partner. Make sure that your family lawyer is realistic and reasonable about costs and settlements.
High Income and/or Substantial Assets
If you come from a family with high income and substantial assets – then you can afford to take things to court or even afford a private arbitration. When you are dealing with substantial assets – then it makes financial sense to choose a lawyer who has a more litigious attitude. When you have millions in assets, you will want the most comprehensive representation possible to ensure you have the best case. If you can afford a highly qualified and thorough family lawyer – then it may be in your interests to do so. That said – mediation still remains a good option if you want to remain on respectable terms with your former partner. It is often the best option for custody and access issues.
Do You Have Children?
If you have children – you must understand that the court process is rarely good for children. You are best off handling your custody and access dispute through negotiation or mediation. You can still take all financial aspects of your divorce to court, but it is rarely advisable to take your parenting matters to court.
Your best bet for custody and access mediation is a clinically trained mediator such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Our lawyers can assist you in selecting a well-trained mental-health professional and 2 refer you to an appropriate person.
Our divorce lawyers can also provide you with a parenting plan template as a starting point.
You can use a divorce lawyer to assist you in the mediation – to provide you with independent legal advice, but generally lawyers leave parents to mediate on their own and provide legal advice on the side. Lawyers should generally stay out of custody and access unless mediation fails or if the parties proceed to arbitration. Generally, a lawyer shouldn’t be encouraging custody and access to be dealt with primarily through the courts without having at least tried negotiation or mediation.
You will want to make sure that your family lawyer is professional and well mannered, but not soft. Overly aggressive lawyers can inflame the opposing side, prolonging the litigation process and keeping you from moving on with your life. You will often want to be on good terms with your former partner so that you can have a dialogue to negotiate out of court (this is almost always cheaper and faster than preparing for trial). Overly aggressive lawyers who have a track record of inflaming the opposing side can cause you problems.
If you have a parenting relationship with your former partner and would like to keep things civil for your children’s sake – again, an out of court solution is going to serve your needs better. Make sure that your family lawyer is honest with you about your options and the different approach you can take.
There is no one size fits all approach – it depends on your budget and circumstances. You will want to qualify the family lawyer who provides you with legal advice by their ability to tailor their advice to your circumstances and to provide you with your options.
Generally, when both parties to the divorce are reasonable, things are settled without a trial, through negotiations, and possibly through the help of court conferences. The court process is designed to encourage settlement at every step of the way, and only a fraction of family law cases go all the way to trial.
Assess Your Family Lawyer
You have to make sure that your family lawyer is service oriented, that they have time to speak to you and time to deal with your matter. Be cautious about overworked lawyers. The best family lawyer should have time for your case.
According the LawPro, the insurance provider for lawyers, the most common mistakes which a lawyer will make will not be legal error, but a customer service error – things like failing to communicate, or failing to follow instructions, or missing a deadline. While these things may seem simple and basic, they are not and the best family lawyers will have top customer service skills and organizational skills.
So make sure that your divorce lawyer has time for you, that they are interested in your success, and that they aren’t overworked. An overworked lawyer cannot serve his clients well.
Different strokes for different folks
No two people will have the same experience with the same divorce lawyer. You will have to meet with your lawyer to determine if they are the kind of family lawyer you are looking for and if they will meet your needs. If you want an amicable divorce, consider a lawyer who encourages settlement, negotiation, mediation, or mediation-arbitration. Or even an uncontested divorce.
If you want to fight for your rights, then make sure that you have a lawyer who will not only represent you, but one who will do so while advising you of where you are being reasonable, where you are likely to fail, and where you need to settle. Lawyers who don’t advise their clients of this can lose their case and be awarded costs against them.
Some lawyers specialize in a litigious approach to family law, others operate in a more amicable manner. Some lawyers are flexible and take on many approaches. Gather information about your lawyer so that you can assess their strengths. Usually you can glean this information from their marketing as they tend to make this readily apparent.
Many family lawyers do only-amicable divorce. Others are highly litigious. Some vary their approach. Some are litigious for property issues and leave parenting issues, as much as possible, to be resolved between the parents.
At the end of the day, the best lawyer for you isn’t going to be the best family lawyer for every client.
Make sure that your divorce lawyer is realistic with you.
Make sure that your family lawyer stays objective and does not take on your position as their own. Clients (in family law and in other fields) tend to like service persons who mirror their emotions and their perspective. However – the best family lawyer is going to look at your case objectively, look at your problems objectively, and come up with a clear headed approach.
Resist the temptation to hire a family lawyer who mirrors your emotions. This can be difficult as divorce/separation is a frustrating time for most parties and many want to feel accepted, agreed with, vindicated, and that someone knows their pain.
However, judges have seen it all before. No case is unique in family law. They are there to make the right legal decision and they are going to have a clear head when they do it. A clear headed lawyer can best anticipate how a clear-headed judge might think, how a judge might decide a case, and they will be more successful than an emotionally involved lawyer.
Your divorce lawyer should provide clearly worded instructions in a written format. The reason for this is human psychology. When people are emotionally charged, their memories become selective and impaired and their cognitive abilities decline. When you receive oral advice in such a state, you may simply fail to understand all of it, and may even misunderstand it. Having written legal advice allows you to revisit your legal advice at a future time, when you are more composed and collected.
Coping with Divorce
Your lawyer is not your therapist. Make sure that your lawyer has a referral network to send you to, if you are struggling to cope. You can also investigate mental health professionals yourself. Unlike law, where Canadian law schools have similar competence, the mental health field is more stratified. Some schools have a more analytical, scientific, and research oriented curriculum coupled with clinical opportunities. Other schools are more limited in their training. You will want to make sure that your mental health professional has the best possible training. A good family lawyer will know mental health professionals. And know which ones to refer you to.
Located in Toronto
Your divorce lawyer should be familiar with the court system in Toronto. There are three family law courts in Toronto. The Superior Court is located at 393 University, and the two provincial courts are located at 311 Jarvis, and 47 Shepherd East. The Family Law Rules, which govern family law procedures in Ontario, are not applied uniformly throughout the province. In practice, each and every courthouse is slightly different. The differences between Toronto courts are not so significant, but they may also be frustrating to lawyers who are not familiar with them. They may encounter some minor difficulties or perhaps some costlier ones.
Your Toronto lawyer should know the judges in the Toronto courts. While the court system is designed to provide a standardized experience for litigants, your judge is a human being at the end of the day. We are all different. No two judges are the same. If your Toronto family lawyer is familiar with the Toronto judges, you stand a better chance of winning.
Lastly, the industry standard is that lawyers bill for their travel time at either their full hourly rate or half of their hourly rate. If your lawyer is located near the Toronto courthouses, you will be paying less money.
Other municipalities have a single, unified family court where the Superior and provincial courts are behind. Family law procedure is much simpler in these municipalities. Unfortunately, Toronto is not one of these cities and therefore you should choose a family lawyer who is familiar with the Toronto courts.
Located in Kingson
Your Kingston family lawyer will know the family court system in Kingston. Unlike Toronto, which has three courthouses with their own procedures, Kingston has a single, unified family court. This makes Kingston more predictable for lawyers to anticipate court procedures. Kingston’s family court is located at 469 Montreal Street, Kingston ON, K7K 3H9.
Family Law in Kingston
Kingston has a unified family court, where both Provincial and Superior courts are combined into one. This simplifies family law procedure and makes the court process more streamlined and predictable.
Kingston Family Lawyers
Family lawyers in Kingston are generally more amicable and less aggressive than Toronto lawyers. There is a strong Collaborative Family Law practice in Kingston. Collaborative Family Law is a process where lawyers try to negotiate legal issues outside of court. If negotiations fail, then the parties must obtain a new lawyer if they wish the pursue their legal issues through court. Out of court resolutions are ideal where the couples are reasonable and agreeable but inappropriate in certain cases. Often, it saves time and money and results in more predictable and happier outcomes than court.
Despite the popularity of Collaborative Family Law, mediation is actually less popular among lawyers in Kingston than in Toronto. Mediation is heavily promoted in Toronto. Many lawyers either act as mediators or assist clients in mediation. The ratio of mediators to lawyers is much lower in Kingston.