2. Get help from a family law professional

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Family Law - Separation and divorce
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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How do I change my court order?
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2. Get help from a family law professional

If you and your partner cannot agree on changing your court order, you can get help from a family law professional. These are neutral people who are trained to work with both of you to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you.

Family law professionals can work in:

All of these processes are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). They help solve your issues without going to court. Deciding which process is best for you depends on the facts of your situation and what you want. For example, a mediator doesn't make decisions for you, but an arbitrator does.

Your court order might even require that you first try a process like mediation to work out your issues before taking any further steps like going to court.

Some of the reasons to use ADR instead of going to court are:

  • You have more control over what happens to your case.
  • It can be faster and cheaper.
  • It can be less stressful.
  • It takes place in a private setting.

But, there are some situations where it may be better not to use ADR, such as:

  • There is a history of family violence, mental illness, or drug abuse.
  • You can't talk to your partner.
  • You can't work cooperatively with your partner.

Each family court location in Ontario offers subsidized mediation services. You can get up to 8 hours of mediation for a fee that is based on each person's income. You can use this service whether or not you’re in court. If you’re already in court, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation at the court free of charge.

You can also find mediators who offer their services at lower rates through JusticeNet. JusticeNet is a not-for-profit that helps people in Ontario whose income is too high to get legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.

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Reviewed: September 1, 2020

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