If I am Right, Will I Win Big in Family Court?

Judge in Family Court

This website provides a lot of useful information about Family Law to let you know if you are on the right path in your separation and divorce.  Reading this best-selling book on Ontario Family Law will give you ever more information about what the law says and some tips for how to do well in court.  So, that should give you a good idea of whether you are “right.”  Also, knowing what you are talking about can really help in Family law, and prevent you from making some big mistakes.  But that does not guarantee that a judge will crush your ex.

If you are being reasonable, and following the law, you should be fine in Family Court.  If your ex is being reasonable, then your ex will probably be fine too.   If both sides are being reasonable, then many Family Court judges think it is unreasonable to go to Court because there are lots of good alternatives out there, such as mediation, mediation/arbitration and Collaborative Practice.  Those judges may get upset with a person who starts proceedings, even if that person is “right”, because the parties could have worked out the matter without going to the expense and acrimony of Court.

Family Court is a place where there are a lot of emotions.  Even though strong emotions are normal in separation and divorce , judges do not dealing with them, or even seeing them because they make people act irrationally and even badly.  Judges, lawyers and the legal processes do not deal well with the emotional side of divorce.  (If you need help with the emotional side of divorce, hiring a reputable divorce coach / divorce doula can really make every aspect of your life, including the legal part, go more smoothly.  Avoid hiring a cheerleader though, as a cheerleader can encourage you do things that upset judges.)  Emotions can be such a factor, and often a problem, in Family Court that Judges rarely like to see one side “win” outright because the emotions that causes can lead to problems that make the rest of the case more difficult.

Also, keep in mind that it is rare in Family Court cases for one side to be entirely right and the other side entirely wrong - especially if both sides have had assistance from a lawyer - either through representation in court, or assistance on a limited scope basis (legal coaching).  So in many situations, one side is right on some issues and the other side is right on others.  

If it is absolutely clear that one side is right and one side is wrong on any issue, or several issues, then court should not be necessary at all.   The lawyers should be able to advise their clients of how the law works and since the result is clear, the parties should be able to agree to it without going to the enormous expense of having a judge decide it.

Of course, there are times when one side is completely unreasonable and will not agree with what should be an obvious result, or when an angry spouse thinks that by making the litigation as difficult as possible, he or she can force the other party to give up on a reasonable position.  When such cases makes it to a judge, the decision will be that one party wins, and the unreasonable party can go down hard.  Being reasonable may not always guarantee a win, but being unreasonable can guarantee a party will lose - unless both sides are equally terrible.  It is important to know and understand what types of things that judges always view as unreasonable

It is also critically important that everything that you write for that a judge reads (including instant messages, emails and social media posts) makes you look like the reasonable one.  You also need to give the right impression to the judge every time you are in Court.  Even if your position is reasonable, a judge may think you are an unreasonable person, even an undeserving person, based on your behaviour.   It is not enough to take a reasonable position, you have to act reasonably, all the time. 

Ontario Family Law Podcast

14 - Family Court Step by Step - Part 1 - Starting and Responding to Family Court Proceedings

31 - How Lawyers Help at Family Mediation

It may not be possible to overstate how much lawyers can help in Court.  Obviously, it is important to know how the family court system works and exactly how the law applies to your case. You may get a good feel for that by doing your research, but a top family lawyer will have experience and knowledge of lots of cases to know how your case will work out it court.  In addition, a big part of being a good lawyer is knowing how to present a case to a judge - knowing what judges like to hear and how they like to hear it, often knowing what particular judges like and do not like.  That can make a big difference in how you do in court, especially where the lawyer knows now to make the other side appear unreasonable or unlikeable. (In mediation and arbitration, the mediator or arbitrator gets much better opportunity to meet and understand the parties - much more so than judges can.)

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover

The best way to protect yourself, your children, your stuff and other things and people that are important to you, is to find out how the law applies specifically to your situation and what steps you should take to get things to work out for you. Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book to the left), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate). 

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You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including property division, support, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback.

Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on the best ways to resolve matters after a separation.

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