We’re married. Who gets to stay in our home if we separate or divorce?

3 . Get help from a family law professional

You and your partner might not be able agree on who gets to stay in the . In family law you must think about using (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process to resolve your issues out of court if it’s suitable for you. ADR might not be right for you if:

  • one person is afraid of another person because there is a history of family violence
  • there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues

A family law professional may be able to help you resolve your issues out of court. They are people who are trained to help you reach an agreement or make a decision for you by using an ADR process.

These processes include:

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.

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

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

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 have a court case. And if you’re already in court, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free at the court.

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.

Because you may be giving up important rights by moving out of the matrimonial home or signing a about who lives in the home, you should think about talking to a lawyer before signing anything.

If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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