Learn about other out of court options and see if any of them might work for you and your partner. For example, you can:
Make a separation agreement
If you and your partner agree on your family law issues, you can put what you've agreed on in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make.
Your separation agreement can deal with some or all of your issues like child support, spousal support, custody and access, and dividing property.
You don't have to wait until you and your partner agree on everything before making a separation agreement. You can make an agreement on the things you agree on, while working on other issues.
You can make a separation agreement if you're married or in a common-law relationship.
There are some good reasons to make a written separation agreement:
- It can be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court.
- It lets you and your partner decide what works best for you and your family.
- It lets others involved in your children's care, such as their school, daycare, and doctor, know what has been agreed on.
- It's easier to prove what you and your partner agreed on if you have a written rather than a verbal agreement.
- If there is a problem getting child support or spousal support, the Family Responsibility Office can help.
- Monthly spousal support cannot be tax deductible without a separation agreement or court order.
Get help from a family law professional
There are different types of family law professionals who can help you and your partner resolve your issues. These are people who do not take sides and are trained to work with both of you. They help you reach an agreement and some can make a decision for you.
Family law professionals can work in:
- collaborative family law
- parenting coordination
These processes are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution because they help solve your issues without going to court.
Many people chose ADR because you can control the process more than going to court. For example, you can decide:
- The type of family law professional that you want to use.
- What timeline fits your schedule. For example, you may choose to meet with a mediator who is available in the evenings so that you can meet with them after work.
- How your lawyers, if any, are involved.
- Who pays for the costs.
ADR can sometimes work better than going to court because:
- it can be faster
- it can be cheaper
- it can be less stressful
- it is more private than going to court
But ADR might not be the right option if:
- you are afraid of their partner because of history of partner abuse
- there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues
- you can't talk to your partner even with help
- you can't work together with you partner even with help