HOW TO LOSE YOUR CASE IN FAMILY COURT



By John Schuman, Certified Specialist Family Lawyer with Devry Smith Frank LLP, Toronto, Ontario. (Email John Schuman or call 416-446-5847 or get a copy of his book by clicking here)


Judge getting angry in family court

So, you want to lose in Family Court? It really is not that hard. The tips below will help you blow your case.  (Doing the opposite will help you win your family court case.)  Each point has links to more information on the same topic.


1.  Involve the kids in the fight

Doctors, social-workers, psychologists, mediators, counsellors, teachers, principals,  swimming lesson instructors, camp counsellors, judges, lawyers and every other profession that works with kids will tell you that involving the kids in the divorce hurts the kids.  It can actually affect a child’s brain development. Nothing angers a judge more than one parent involving the children in the fight.   The children should not even know there is a dispute between their parents.  All they need to know is what the new “rules” are when the dispute is over. 

 

2. Don’t Pay Child Support

“Child Support is the Right of the child.”  Judges expect parents to financially support their children.  It is not the children’s fault that their parents are not living together.  If the children are living most of the time with the other parent, you should continue to make sure they have the financial support they need.  Judges are very impressed when a parent voluntarily pays child support.  In Canada, to figure out what child base child support you should pay, click HERE.


3. Don’t Encourage the Kids to Spend Time With A Parent

Unless you are a Children’s Aid Society that has been court sanctioned to cut off access to a parent because of abuse, you must find a way for the kids to know both parents.  It is a child’s legal right to know both parents.  Even murderers and rapists get supervised access because children benefit from knowing their parents.   Judges actually take custody away from parents who try to destroy the children’s relationship with the other parent. 


4. Breach or Ignore Court Orders 

Judges work pretty hard to become judges.  They are generally well respected for their wisdom and insight.  So, judges expect you to give them respect and do what they say.  If you don’t want a judge to tell you what to do, you should not be in court.  When a judge tells you to do something, it is not like another person telling you.  When a judge orders you to do something, you are legally required to do it, or you could go to jail.

 

5. Secretly Hide Money or Transfer Assets

The law will say how the family’s money should be divided.  Unless you have a marriage contract, a cohabitation agreement or some other form of agreement, you can’t change that.   Moving assets to keep the court from giving them to another party is illegal.  It shows the court that you are willing to break the rules and you need to be taught a lesson. 


 6. Lie

Don’t think you can get away with lying - especially when the other party has a family lawyer.  Family Lawyers get very good at finding out when people are lying.   Get caught once, and the court will assume everything you say from then on is a lie.  That makes it hard to get your way. 


7. Choose Not to Use a Lawyer

Not using a lawyer when you are able to, sends the court the messages that you don’t want to listen to professional advice.  That is a bad place to start.  Then you try to rely on your judgment when you are involved in a very emotional and stressful event.   Add on that you don’t know the court rules or the law.  Plus, if the other party has a lawyer, there is a person helping them make you look bad.  For more reasons why you need a lawyer, click HERE.


8. Refuse to Give Financial Disclosure 

By law, in cases involving support or property division the other side is allowed to know virtually everything about your financial situation and is is your obligation to tell them.  If you don’t give disclosure quickly, judges will assume that either you are hiding you money (see point 5), trying to lie (see point 6), trying to complicate matters or make them more expensive for everyone, or trying to delay.  The law gives judges lots of powers to punish people who refuse to make their financial disclosure quickly.  


9. Take Every Opportunity to Slam the Other Party

At one point, you had some sort of relationship with the other party and you at least liked them. So you saw some good qualities. (Unless the other party is a children’s aid society, whose role in protecting children is considered pretty respectable.)    Attacking the other party at every turn makes you seem angry, vindictive and irrational.  Who feels sorry for people like that.  Not judges.


10. Don’t Show Up For Court

If you have been served, the court can make an order against you, even if you don’t show up.  Sticking your head in the sand won’t help you.   It will only result in the other party getting what they want because you did not show up to say why that is wrong.  Then, even if you weren’t there, the court can enforce the Order against you if you don’t comply with it.   It’s like the lottery: you can’t possibly win if you don’t play.  But, if you show up and behave yourself , you have a good chance of doing well in Family Court.  At the very least, the judge will explain to you why he or she is making the court orders.

The Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - $20 easy to understand book on Ontario Family Law and Ontario Family Court


Want to win in Family Court?  Check this out:

The above is an excerpt from John Schuman’s Book:  Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law.  The book contains more tips, a complete explanation of the the Ontario Family Court Process, the alternatives to going to court and all the basics of family law.  Read the book so that you don’t bow your case.  Get the $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or the iBook for iPad, iPhone, or Mac,  (all available to download and read immediately) or order the paperback.  You can also listen to episodes of the Ontario Family Law Podcast.

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For more information on common mistakes that people make in their divorces and family court cases, and how to avoid them, watch this informative video:


One of the best ways to avoid making mistakes in your divorce or separation is to speak to a family lawyer,  Contact John Schuman using the form below.  If you found this page helpful, please share it with on your social network using the buttons at the bottom of the page.  Many people make big mistakes in their family law case that they could have avoided, but you can stop that by letting them know about this page. 

© John P. Schuman 2014