Can I Resolve My Separation Without Going to Court?

Published On: August 17, 2023Categories: Family LawTags:

Can you get a legal separation in Ontario without seeing a judge? 

Yes, absolutely! In Ottawa, you have several alternatives to resolve your separation without resorting to court proceedings. Catherine Calvert is the Managing Lawyer at Simard & Associates, practicing in Family Law, and she is also a Family Law Mediator. Catherine knows how sensitive and challenging a separation can be and can help you by providing professional, cost-effective and compassionate support throughout the process. She is here to help you explore your options. 

What are the alternatives to going to court for my separation in Ottawa? 

  1. Mediation: You and your spouse can sit down with a family law mediator who will facilitate discussions to reach mutually agreeable terms for your separation. This process is generally more amicable and less adversarial than going to court.
  2. Collaborative Family Law: This approach involves each party hiring their own lawyer, but instead of heading to court, the lawyers and the couple work together in a series of meetings to find a resolution that meets both parties’ needs.
  3. Arbitration: An arbitrator, acting as a private judge, will make decisions based on the evidence presented by both sides. This option offers more flexibility in scheduling and privacy compared to going to court.
  4. Negotiation: You and your spouse can work with lawyers specializing in family law to draft a comprehensive separation agreement that outlines the terms of your separation, including parenting, support, and property division.

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What are the benefits of choosing an alternative to court for my separation? 

According to Catherine, opting for an alternative dispute resolution method can offer several advantages, including: 

  1. Less Stress and Conflict: Court proceedings can be emotionally draining and adversarial, while alternative methods foster open communication and cooperation, reducing conflict and stress.
  2. Privacy and Confidentiality: Court cases are public record, whereas many alternative methods ensure privacy and confidentiality, allowing you to keep personal matters out of the public eye.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Generally, alternatives to court are more cost-effective, as they often involve fewer legal fees and streamlined processes.
  4. Customized Solutions: Alternative methods allow you and your spouse to have more control over the outcome, ensuring solutions that suit your unique family dynamics.

How long does it typically take to resolve a separation using an alternative method in Ottawa?

The timeline for resolving a separation using alternative methods can vary depending on the complexity of your situation and the willingness of both parties to cooperate. While court cases can drag on for several months or even years, alternative methods often lead to quicker resolutions, often within a few months.  

Do I need a lawyer if I choose an alternative method for my separation?

Having a lawyer represent you during an alternative dispute resolution process is highly recommended but not mandatory. An experienced family law lawyer can provide valuable guidance, protect your rights, and ensure your interests are well-represented throughout the negotiation or mediation process. Lawyers are not required in the mediation process. 

What if my spouse is not willing to cooperate in the alternative process?

In some cases, one party may be hesitant to cooperate in an alternative dispute resolution. However, with the right approach and skilled legal representation, it’s still possible to find common ground. Your lawyer can help navigate any challenges and work towards a resolution that is fair and reasonable for both parties. 

What happens if we cannot reach an agreement through alternative methods? 

If an agreement cannot be reached through alternative methods, court may become necessary. However, this is usually a last resort. Catherine and the team of family law lawyers at Simard & Associates will exhaust all possibilities for negotiation and mediation before considering court proceedings. 

Separating from your partner is difficult enough, and you don’t want to add to the stress with a lengthy court battle. There are alternatives to court that can help navigate the complexities of separation with professionalism and compassion. Contact the lawyers at Simard & Associates to find out how they can help guide you through alternative dispute resolution, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard. 


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