Family law is a law of relationships between adults inter se, between adults and children, and between both adults and children and the State, as continually influenced by social and demographic changes. Family law is the law governing family disputes and obligations. Essentially it is a form of a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships, such as divorce, spousal support, child support, division of assets during the matrimonial breakdown, decision-making responsibility, parenting time, and adoption, among others. Thus family law is one of the most emotional areas of law that addresses issues relating to complex family or domestic relationships.
Attorneys and law firms specializing in family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as Applications and supporting documents in court, as well as several domestic contracts, including but not limited to separation agreements, cohabitation agreements, and the like.
Family cases are a type of civil case, but they generally involve issues between or concerning spouses, parents, and children. Canadian family courts handle a wide variety of cases involving domestic matters. The most common issues handled at family court include:
When someone wants to end a marriage, they can file a case at family court to ask for a court order ending the marriage. Marriages can be terminated through divorce or annulment cases. The court can also grant a separation, where the court issues orders regarding property, alimony, and child custody, but the parties remain legally married.
When a man needs to be declared the father of a child, either parent can file a case asking the family court to determine paternity. This permanently establishes the father of the child. Unmarried parents can also ask the court to order legal custody, physical custody, visitation schedules, and child support.
Victims of domestic violence can ask the family court to issue protection orders to keep their abuser away.
A child or an adult may be able to legally change their name through a name change case at family court.
Family court oversees all matters where there are allegations of child abuse, child neglect, or where minors are accused of participating in illegal behavior. These matters are handled mainly by the District Attorney Juvenile Division. The family court can also approve work permits for minors under the age of 14.
Suppose there are serious reasons why a parent should no longer have a parental relationship with a child (such as abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc.). In that case, the family court may terminate that parent’s rights. If someone else wants to become a child’s legal parent, the family court can grant an adoption where the parent-child relationship is legally created.
Guardianship involves determining who will be responsible for the medical, personal, and financial decisions of a child or an adult who cannot care for themselves.
Those under the age of 18 who wish to marry or want to be “emancipated” (meaning, being legally free from the control of their parents) can petition the family court for approval.
Examples of family law issues include how to divide property and real estate between separating spouses, where children will live upon separation of their parents, and how much the payor parent owes their child(ren) towards child support.
At its most basic level, Statistics Canada defines a family as a couple — with or without children, married or common-law — or a lone parent with at least one child in the same house.
Family lawyers are involved in the personal aspects of their clients’ lives, including divorce, child custody (now decision-making responsibility and parenting time), alimony, abuse and neglect proceedings, successions, family partitions, etc. A family lawyer is expected to help a client resolve any issue relating to his/her family. Our staffs are well trained and deal with all aspects of family law. We understand the need to listen to our clients and apply an individualised and customised approach to every case.
He or she will discuss with you:
You can expect that when you retain your lawyer, you will review and execute a formal Retainer Agreement and be given a detailed Memorandum advising you of the practices and procedures of the Firm.
Because family law matters require substantial disclosure, your lawyer will be asking you for specific financial disclosure to discuss the issues listed above as they are related to spousal or child support.
Your lawyer will, as and when applicable, and from time to time, prepare and provide to you various calculations, including but not limited to:
Deciding whether or not you need a family lawyer can be difficult. This is especially when it comes to your legal situations, such as the breakdown of a relationship or decisions regarding custody and property.
Nussbaum Family Law will be by your side throughout the process. Here are a few reasons lawyers at Nussbaum Family Law can help:
You can choose to consult a family law firm and hire a lawyer at any time, depending on how urgently you need their services. However, it is recommended to hire a family law lawyer from the very inception, as this would allow them to be well versed with your case and may, in turn, lead to faster resolutions.
When going through a separation, we understand how difficult and overwhelming it can be. Therefore, it is highly imperative to have a good lawyer by your side to assist you professionally and emotionally, one that will safeguard your interest.
So how do you find a good family law lawyer?
Apart from the requisite knowledge, experience, and skillset on various legal issues, it is crucial for a good family law lawyer must be emotionally intelligent. This stems from the need to be compassionate and sympathetic to the client’s cause but not getting carried away to the point that they make it their own personal cause, thereby affecting the ability to advocate for the client efficiently.
Our lawyers at Nussbaum Family Law are incredibly patient and understand the situation you and your family are in. Our lawyers aim to understand the emotional and mental state of the client going through such a situation and strive to do their utmost best in achieving desired results.
Beyond the specialized knowledge, succeeding as a family lawyer requires the same basic skills as other legal areas: strong written and verbal communication, time management, critical thinking, analysis, etc. However, apart from those same basic skills, strong “people skills” are especially important for family lawyers. Given the deeply personal issues inherent to family law, the ability to relate calmly and constructively with people who may be emotionally vulnerable is a must.
For a successful career, family law lawyers need to possess the following:
Family law is cerebral and not mechanical. Some people mistakenly think of legal representation as a service similar to a mechanic.
A family lawyer has to deal with quite a few variables while dealing with your case. Drafting an Application, for example, does not take a set specific amount of time. It depends on the complexity of your case, the strategies needed to build a strong case, researching case laws in your favour, researching case laws that may exist which are not in your favour but developing specific counter-arguments, and reviewing hundreds of pages of disclosures, and the like.
The hourly costs for lawyers in Canada, can vary greatly with everything from $100 per hour to $650 per hour. When choosing a lawyer, this is rarely a time to be searching for a bargain. Generally, a family lawyer making upwards of $300/hour is one who has the experience, and that experience can save you far more in the long run.
Having said that, our lawyers at Nussbaum Law charge anywhere between $275.00 to $440.00 (+HST) an hour, without compromising on the expertise and skills required to deal with your case.
In family law, you can be more than a lawyer assessing and providing legal advice for clients on their legal rights. You can help an individual through one of the most stressful experiences in life. It is very rewarding to know you’ve helped someone through such a difficult time.
While rewarding, it can also be quite difficult to go through these events with your clients. One of the biggest challenges for attorneys is when one or both parties are set on making the process as difficult as possible in a self-defeating attempt to hurt the other party.
Having said that, making a difference in people’s lives and having a positive impact means appreciating how intrinsic and personal divorce and child custody determinations are to parties. Family law proceedings have the potential to profoundly affect relationships, at the most fundamental level.
Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, Family Law is a catch-all, umbrella term covering a broad range of legal topics that include
In Ontario, Family Law issues are covered mainly by provincial legislation.
Divorce Law, in contrast, is technically governed by federal legislation in the form of the Divorce Act, which applies equally across Canada.
However, the term has grown to mean more than simply the administrative dissolution of a marriage; this is because divorce-related steps are really intertwined with some of the Family Law issues listed above, especially family property, child support, and custody. In short, “Divorce Law” can be viewed as a sub-set of the broader topic of Family Law.
Our legal staff understands that separation and divorce is an emotional time, and we are committed to providing a personal approach to all our clients. Our team understands that each family situation is unique, and we will take the time to listen to your situation so we can understand your family values. We advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your Toronto family law case. The goal of our family law practice is to resolve disputes through mediation and negotiation to save you time so you can move forward with your life. If it is required, our lawyers and staff have extensive experience in litigating cases in both the Superior Court and Ontario Court of Justice.
Nussbaum Family Law provides legal services in all areas of family law and divorce law. Nussbaum Family Law also provides wills and estate legal services. We are committed to bettering the lives of those we represent by providing efficient, cost-effective, and quality legal services.
Yes, you can opt to represent yourself at a family law trial. However, family law does have a lot of technicalities that most laymen do not have a complete grasp on. It is still best to hire a lawyer or at least consult one before heading to trial.
No. The judge makes the final decisions in family trials. However, there is still the possibility of an audience since trials are mostly open to the public.
Yes, especially if the restraining order is against a former partner, spouse, or family member.