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Useful Links/ Websites for Ontario Family Law

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  • Useful Links/ Websites for Ontario Family Law

    Hi all. I've decided to assemble a list of links that may be useful to users of this forum. If users find it valuable maybe an admin could sticky it.

    Family Law Information

    Steps to Justice Family Law
    Ministry of the Attorney General
    List of Courts in Ontario

    Legislation

    Divorce Act -
    Childrens Law Reform Act
    Family Law Act
    Family Law Rules

    Case Law


    CanLii -

    File for Divorce - Ontario

    Filing for a Simple Divorce
    Ontario

    Warning: speak to a lawyer before you file for a simple divorce. This is especially true if you have children, property or an income disparity with your partner

    Court Forms
    Ontario Court Forms

    Child and Spousal Support Calculator
    My Support Calculator

    Alternatives to Court

    Collaborative Law Ontario Association of Collaborative Professionals
    Mediation Ontario Association for Family Mediation
    Mediation / Arbitration Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario

    Struggling to Afford a Lawyer?

    Legal Aid Ontario - Free lawyers for those who qualify, but requires low income and many lawyers do not take legal aid.
    Justice Net - Reduced fee lawyers for lower income persons, not free.
    Limited Scope Services Project Lawyers on a limited scope basis. Pay as you go for what you need.
    Osgoode Hall Law School Legal Clinic (CLASP)
    Ottawa University Community Legal Clinic
    Western University Legal Clinic
    Windsor University Legal Aid Clinic

    Law Society Referral Service
    Free thirty minute consultation with an Ontario lawyer. Note a consultation isn't thirty minutes of free advice.

    Enforcement of Support Orders

    Family Responsibility Office

  • #2
    Great list - thanks! Sticky'd it.
    Ottawa Divorce

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kinso View Post
      Law Society Referral Service Free thirty minute consultation with an Ontario lawyer. Note a consultation isn't thirty minutes of free advice.
      Could you clarify what that means? What do you get during those 30 minutes? Is it just a lawyer marketing their services?

      Comment


      • #4
        Could you clarify what that means? What do you get during those 30 minutes? Is it just a lawyer marketing their services?
        I can't speak for all lawyers, but there is a line between consultation and advice that we are often careful about in those 30 minute calls. Advice can only responsibly be given once one has a comprehensive understanding of the facts. This is not possible in a 30 minute call.

        A general distinction is:

        Consultation - this is the law generally as it applies to the issues you've raised
        Advice - this is the law as it applies to your specific situation, and here are the steps you should take.

        Another limitation is that most lawyers will not help full out forms, or review documents. This is also legal advice and there may be facts the lawyer unaware of that would change the nature of the advice. It also incurs liability which I'm not in the business of doing for free.

        Most people give a 10 minute summary of their situation, and I'll respond with the law generally on the issues raised (eg. Custody is based on the best interests of the child, child support is based on income... in this case since you're self employed there are increased disclosure requirements...etc.). If there is any violence or other red flags I'll stress the need to address this quickly. I will generally give them their process options, negotiation, mediation, or litigation. Summarize the cost of legal services and how unpredictable they are, and if I'm interested in the file tell them how much the retainer would be.

        Sometimes people have specific questions I can answer - such as: "If my husband was arrested for drunk driving 3 years ago, does that mean I'll win custody?" - Generally not, but a pattern is concerning. "At what age does a child get to decide where they live?" - No defined age, depends on the maturity of the child, expect full decision making authority sometime in their mid-late teens.

        Somethings I can almost never answer in a consultation include - "Should I accept my wife's Offer to Settle?" "Should I bring a motion for custody, access, support?" or "Exactly what forms do I need to fill out for a divorce?" I won't generally answer the last one as telling someone to fill out certain forms will be interpreted as an advisable course of action, which it may not be.

        It's not solely a marketing call, although that does occur. It's not 30 minutes of free advice, it's something in between.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Janus View Post
          Could you clarify what that means? What do you get during those 30 minutes? Is it just a lawyer marketing their services?
          Lawyers don't give free legal advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Janus View Post
            Could you clarify what that means? What do you get during those 30 minutes? Is it just a lawyer marketing their services?
            In my experience it is marketing tool, and I would call it dishonest practice, since lawyers do advertise it as free 30 minutes consultation, but then they refuse to consult, at least those I spoke with.

            I've spoken to some, and only used this "free 30 minutes consultation" as a way to understand if I am willing to hire that lawyer or not. Practically everyone meticulously avoids even remote possibility of advising of anything, with except of retaining their services and saying plain "you definitely need a lawyer".

            Comment


            • #7
              In my experience it is marketing tool, and I would call it dishonest practice, since lawyers do advertise it as free 30 minutes consultation, but then they refuse to consult, at least those I spoke with.
              As noted above, a consultation and advice are not the same thing. It’s likely the case that your questions are too specific for a responsible answer to be given in a consultation. Keep in mind many lawyers don’t do free consultations, and since you’re not paying anything, it’s hard to get too upset by the deal.

              This is s fundamental misunderstanding of what a free consultation is.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kinso View Post
                As noted above, a consultation and advice are not the same thing. It’s likely the case that your questions are too specific for a responsible answer to be given in a consultation. Keep in mind many lawyers don’t do free consultations, and since you’re not paying anything, it’s hard to get too upset by the deal.

                This is s fundamental misunderstanding of what a free consultation is.

                It is possible that legally "consultation" and "advice" are different thing, but for most people free means free. If your dentist gives a "free cleaning" in order to win your business, it is indeed free. If I was to ask if I need crown, bridge or implant, doctor would asses my situation, and won't be talking hypothetically.

                I'll give you example on my situation. I called for a "free consultation" to check DivorceMate calculations produced by my Ex lawyer. The question I asked was very simple - does court accept MySupportCalculation as evidence (both employed with no side income) and if not can they run the DivorceMate on our two numbers.

                Not he rocket science as you could see. I even specified what exactly I am looking for when I booked this free consultation. The result I've got first interrogated about all my personal data and case details for 30 minutes. Then the junior lawyer admitted she doesn't have access to DM and would have senior lawyer at their firm to call me.

                The senior lawyer indeed called and lectured me for 15 minutes that MySupportCalculator isn't accurate and that no one to agree to do DivorceMate for free.

                The result is their firm spent 45 minutes on me. Had they ran this DM calculation, they may have win my business, as I am shopping around to hire a lawyer, but I will have to look for alternative.

                I do apologize if this is not how the legal world operates, but for regular people common sense is a common sense.


                I'll give you another example. Long time ago my ex was not following court orders on access. I called for a free consultation. I have explained my situation and guy said while he knows the answer, he won't tell me in free consultation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’ve never met a dentist who offered a free cleaning (to a new patient) but maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place!

                  If you said “I’m looking for someone to check some numbers for me”, I would have quickly said this is not covered by a free consultation. This is because in order to properly advise I need more information. Just like a doctor, the background to symptoms may impact the calculations. In your case, there might be grounds for imputation, or s.7s, or types of income (employment vs self-employment) where the raw calculations alone are not sufficient to answer you question.

                  I do think 45 minutes to tell you “sorry we can’t answer that” is a big much. That should have been told to you within 10 minutes.

                  That last guy sounds like a dink. A lawyer should be able to give you some broad options (bring a motion, send a letter etc.) without insisting on payment. Broad options can be offered in a consultation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kinso View Post
                    I’ve never met a dentist who offered a free cleaning (to a new patient) but maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong place!
                    lol, I actually never had free cleaning myself, but newcomers in the office (before covid) were talking a lot about getting free stuff in Canada, and dental cleaning was one of them and they couldn't understand why I didn't want to get it free.

                    Now to the business. I have another topic on MySupportCalculator vs DivorceMate . If we are not talking about s.7, does court accept MySupportCalculator report? And if it doesn't how do they justify access to justice to everyone, if DivorceMate is only available to lawyers i.e. I can't legally buy it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      lol, I actually never had free cleaning myself, but newcomers in the office (before covid) were talking a lot about getting free stuff in Canada, and dental cleaning was one of them and they couldn't understand why I didn't want to get it free.
                      More evidence that it's a bad business proposition.

                      If we are not talking about s.7, does court accept MySupportCalculator report?
                      Yes, the court will accept MySupportCalculator. However, if the other side is using DivorceMate, and they've described the income more accurately (for example, gross ups on unreported income) that will be preferred.


                      And if it doesn't how do they justify access to justice to everyone, if DivorceMate is only available to lawyers i.e. I can't legally buy it.
                      Access to justice does not require free services for everyone. Most Canadians can afford $300 - $400 for an hour of a lawyer's time to do some calculations for them. A full $5,000 retainer is not needed if that's all one is seeking. This is not a barrier for most.

                      Everyone works for money. Doctors, lawyers, dentists, welders, house painters and Starbucks employees. No one gives their time for free. Even 'pro bono' lawyers at pro bono clinics are paid a salary by the government. Private practice lawyers only make what they earn from their clients, that's it.

                      We're pretty experienced at filtering the 'tire kickers' from those who are truly looking to retain a lawyer. I can't pay my mortgage with free consultations, so it has to lead to more business (overall). Doesn't mean I won't help people out, but it has to be reasonable. I don't read documents and I don't do calculations for free.

                      For those who truly don't have $300, there are legal clinics (associated with most law schools), Legal Aid Ontario, or Law Libraries they can access at no cost.

                      Finally, the child support guidelines and the SSAGs are available on the Justice Canada website for free. You can use the formulas yourself and do your own calculations if you like. MySupportCalculator/DivorceMate just make it easier.
                      Last edited by Kinso; 01-02-2022, 07:48 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kinso View Post
                        Yes, the court will accept MySupportCalculator. However, if the other side is using DivorceMate, and they've described the income more accurately (for example, gross ups on unreported income) that will be preferred.
                        This is my problem then with the DM report. The DM is a one page report, that supposedly has all input data on the very same page, specifically your age/ex age, children age/residency and incomes. I am on T4, with no additional income. My ex claims to have T4 only (she refuses to give disclosure, but that's another topic), so assuming it is T4 only. Her lawyer somehow "tuned up" the report in a way that Child Support (table) shown as 0, and at the same moment CSG Table Amount Offset shown as not 0 and matches the MSC.
                        However the spousal in MSC are almost 0, yet in DM they are displayed almost at amounts as if we didn't have children at all.

                        Also, I agree with you that everyone needs to earn, just in my business it is very normal to work for 2 weeks to give an estimate, and then not receive a contract. Of course I am not happy about those cases, but I guess just different business model.

                        I wouldn't mind following the support guidelines and the SSAGs - would probably even prefer, but there is a chance getting a judge who would just trust DM more, as this is what they see everyday.

                        Side question. Do you know why DM is not for sale to ordinary people? It costs $600 per 4 files, why I can't just buy one if I am not a lawyer? Many forms there are very useful and would save time, not just the calculator, I wouldn't mind legally buying it, but I can't.

                        Comment

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