How to lose you case in Family Court

10 Guaranteed, Sure-Fire ways to anger a judge or otherwise blow your case 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. 

Types of Unbundled Services

  • provide “coaching” to tell a person what their options are and what is likely to work best in a particular situation
  • assist with developing parenting plans or advising on terms in custody/access agreements for children 
  • assist with preparing a financial statement
  • draft court documents for the next appearance
  • assist with service and filing of documents
  • attend at negotiations or a mediation
  • attend a single court appearance as your “agent”
  • assist “behind the scenes” during a trial with the preparation of a case
  • help with determining what disclosure is necessary and how to organize and provide it,
  • draft a separation agreement, or give independent legal advice on separation agreement,
  • Assist with calculating child support, or figuring out obligations for child support for adult children, or
  • do any of several tasks particular to case

Often, after discussing your case, a lawyer will be able to quote a price for doing one particular aspect of a case.  It is not possible to provide a fixed fee for an entire case because how long an entire case takes, in large part, depends on how much one or both spouses want to fight.  But, lawyers can often give you a price for drafting an affidavit, or going to a mediation, or doing any of several discreet tasks. That can allow you to decide whether you want a lawyer to help you with one step in your case or not. It can also give you complete control over how much you spend, as you are can pay a lawyer a set amount for a particular task and then stop. Read below for how we do unbundled services.

However, keeping a lawyer involved, even just to give you advice as you run your own case, can help you avoid making a lot of costly family law mistakes, some of which are set out in the video below:

But, if you are going to just use a lawyer to help with specific tasks, that lawyer may not have the “big picture” on your case, since you are running it yourself.   In the situation, it is important for you to have the big picture by knowing a bit about how the family law processes work, and having a good  understanding of the various legal issues that apply to your case.  It is a good idea to get a consult with a top family lawyer to give you an explanation of how family law works in your circumstances. You can get also get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, how family court works, and how mediation, arbitration and collaborative practice work, by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  


Step 1 – Let’s meet.

Helping people with part of their case, means understanding the case to make sure that every client is getting the best and most appropriate services, while making sure the client understand all of their options and the likely outcomes. That means meeting to understand each person’s unique situation and figuring out what is best for that particular situation. 

We prefer to meet in person, because then we can go over any documents, we can give you our advice in writing,  and we can give you some useful documents, including the Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law. We also need you to fill out some forms required by the Law Society of Upper Canada to verify that people are who they say they are. Even if you want a telephone consult, we need you to complete the forms (which you can get by clicking here) and click submit at the end of the form) and then  email us copies of a least two pieces of ID with your name, photo and address on them.  (Please note, we are not retained as your lawyers until we have both signed a retainer agreement.)

Our consultations typically last 60 to 90 minutes.  In that time, we will go over your situation, discuss all your options, formulate a plan for moving forward, go over documents as necessary and give you our advice about what you should be doing next in writing.  Everyone who has had one of our consults had found it to be a very full meeting with lots of useful information.  John charges a reduced rate for his consultations.  His colleagues do consultations at lower rates too.   The price includes a copy of John’s Book and a package of other documents and information, tailored to your situation.  Where possible we try to have you meet two lawyers so you can choose the lawyer who is the best fit your you, your situation, and your budget.

To set up that meeting, call us at 416-446-5869, email us, or use the contact form at the bottom of this page to send us a message.

Step 2 – Put the Plan in Place

You will leave a consultation with an understanding of what you need to do next – and a written outlined of that plan.  If you want to “retain us” to handle your case completely, then we will take over most of the tasks from there.  If you want us to help you with specific tasks, or family law coaching, we  will give you an estimate or quote on the fees.

We can’t give you a price in advance of meeting because family law matters vary in terms of how complicated they are, how difficult one (or both) spouses want to be and how much work will be required.  Whether separated spouses chose, court, arbitration, mediationcollaborative law, or negotiation has a huge impact on fees.  The video below explains what makes some family law cases more expensive than others.

Regardless of what is going on with your particular matter, we will give you an estimate of what the next steps will cost or, if you chose unbundled services, you can set a budget. 

Step 3 – Come Back As You Need

Even if you choose unbundled services, you do not have to use lawyers who do not know you or your case.  You can make an appointment to come back and get further assistance as your case moves forward.  You will see lawyers who know the background of your case and, after you provide an update, we can give you informed advice about what you should do next, and help you with your case in the manner that you chose and that best fits your budget.

Additionally, if you find your case has become too daunting, is consuming too much of your time, or if you feel that you need skilled advocacy full-time, you can always retain us to take over your case entirely,

To start getting the help you need to protect yourself (and your kids) through separation, divorce, Family Court, or ay other process, call us at 416-446-5869 or fill out this form: