We’re married. What if we can’t agree on what happens to our property and debts after we separate or divorce?

3. Go to court

If you and your partner still cannot agree even with the help of a family law professional, or if this is not the right option for you, one of you has to start a family law court case.

Going to court can be a complicated process and it can take a lot of time. It can be stressful and expensive, but it is sometimes necessary to decide your issues.

This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case. It tells you what happens and what you have to do if you start a court case or if you're responding to a court case your partner started.

A family court decides based on the family law rules and laws. Before deciding about what happens to your property and a judge looks at things like:

  • the that partners usually get
  • whether you have a signed or
  • the facts of your case, such as the type of property you own

There are 3 courts that deal with family law issues in Ontario. But only 2 can deal with property issues – the Superior Court of Justice and the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice. The Ontario Court of Justice cannot divide property.

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand what the law says about your property rights. A lawyer can also explain why you might choose to go to court and can help you through the process.

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

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

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