If I am Right, Will I Win Big 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 even 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 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 the 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 deal with them, or even see 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 to 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 cause 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 make 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 a judge (including instant messages, emails and social media posts) makes you look like a 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. 

John Schuman Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law book cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of parenting cases (parenting time and decision making), child support, spousal support, property division, 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. But to understand how the law works precisely in your situation, it is always best to speak to a good Family Law Lawyer.

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