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Abba435 03-26-2020 09:11 AM

File preparation for court - Lessons learned
After going through the gruelling experience of locating, organizing, copying, and finally filing documents for trial (undertakings, questions for examination adn cross, admissions, responses to admissions, exhibits, case law) I noted a few lessons learned.

Start early. As in now. It can be a huge amount of work. If you let your law firm do it all you will pay dearly. And you will miss, forget or lose important and possibly critical documents.

Materials you need are:

- 3 inch binders. I had a dozen in the end. You can find these used on kijiji.

- Index tabs. Lots. Numerical and Alphabetic. Staples is expensive. Go to and you can buy index tabs way cheaper. It make you look professional and organized and reasonable in court if needed. Plus keeps you organized. you must be organized.

- Excel spreadsheets to keep track of all those documents and to build the index pages that you must submit in your court filings
Form 22 you need a list of facts and a list of documents.
Exhibits have to be easily referred to in court, you need to provide a copy for the court and the opposing party.
This is essential for the judge to easily reference what of your proposed exhibits are being entered as evidence.
Very vey useful if you have to prepare a costs submission.
This shows you are capable and may just prove your arguments out o court so the other side has to declare no contest and get reasonable.
You will waste many many hours and get frustrated if you are not organized starting now.

- A good printer/copier. you can find really good Brother lasers (not inkjets) on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace.

- Keep track of all of your costs. Keep track of your time if you self represent. Keep track of all of your lawyer's time, when you called, when you sent an email.

- Do not overwhelm your lawyer with trivia, anger, nonsense. you pay for it all in 6 minute increments that add up fast

- Communicate all important matters in writing by email or letter.

- BIFFF - Brief, Informative, Fair, Firm, Factual. Pretend every word you say and write can end up in evidence, because it can and will!

- Admit your mistakes and make reasonable offer to make them right

- Above all, every single word has to focus on the best interests of the kids. Every word. Even though I firmly believe that the welfare of parents is part of that the focus of communication has to be on what is best for children.

- DO not assume that case conferences will accomplish much.

- Make very clear written offers and serve them.

- Read the Family Law Rules carefully. Very carefully. Know that the Rules of Civil Procedure may take precedence where the FL Rules are not specific such as in withdrawing a motion (expensive stupid mistake here)

- Research this forum carefully. Loads of smart people here. Filter out the aggressive comments. This place is anonymous so just like social media sometimes words are posted that people would never say in person. Take what you can, it is free and often excellent advice and references.

- Rise above, take the high road, pick your battles carefully, be as nice as you can.

- Be respectful, be prepared. This is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Learn as you go.

- Take care of yourself. Don't let anyone bully you. Listen to your gut, and your heart. Hug those kids.

- PM me anytime. Pay it forward.

paco 03-26-2020 09:44 AM

Excellent post, thank you.
Can you provide some input as to how to defend your ex's Appeal considering that you were successful at Trial?

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LovingDad1234 03-26-2020 09:54 AM

Excellent post Abba!

If I can add a bit of advice from my journey:

- Seek counseling if you are going through a high conflict separation/divorce. You will need to vent. You don't want to bog down your friends and family with your situation, and certainly not your lawyer. Your lawyer WILL listen, but look out when you get the bill, because you will be charged for that 30 minute rant. Cheaper to speak to a counsellor.

- Be wary and aware of the situation with your ex. Recognize if it is high conflict and unreasonable. And whether or not settlement is possible. Otherwise you can enter an endless cycle of settlement conferences that erode your finances and unnecessarily limit your time with your kids (if you are seeking increase or 50/50)

Abba435 03-26-2020 11:37 AM

I do not know if I was successful in responding. The ruling is pending. Fingers crossed. I do figure my work would have cost me at least $50k and I will be claiming at least half that in my cost submission if not more.

Abba435 03-26-2020 11:41 AM

If you have benefits for counselling use them. Find a therapist expert in marriage breakdown. Some Parenting Coordinators are social workers so their fees qualify. Collaborative Law is questionable.

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