In the event you and your former spouse are unable to reach a separation agreement on any or all of the issues, your matter may proceed to Court. Any family law matter has a procedure system in place which promotes the resolution of matters before a trial is required.
Your matter may be heard in the Superior Court of Justice (which deals with matter containing divorce and property matters), the Ontario Court of Justice (which deals with matters not involving divorce or property) or Unified Family Court (a combination of the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice, dealing with all family matters).
This procedure typically proceeds by way of the following:
A Case Conference is an informal appearance before a Justice which provides an opportunity to resolve or minimize the issues in your matter. A Case Conference is intended to ensure that all required materials have been submitted and the Justice may see fit to provide an opinion on the resolution of the matter. The Justice is not, able at this time, to pronounce any Orders which are not consented to or procedural.
A Settlement Conference is another informal appearance before a Justice which provides another opportunity to resolve or minimize the issues in your matter. In certain situations you may be able to have multiple Settlement Conferences or merge your Settlement Conference with a Case Conference or Trial Management Conference. Again, the Justice may see fit to provide an opinion on how the matter can be resolved but is not able, at this time, to pronounce any Orders which are not on consent or procedural.
Trial Management Conference
A Trial Management Conference is an informal appearance before a Justice which concentrates on preparing for trial. The Conference will cover issues such as, a list of still in dispute, whether you require a witness or expert to be called for trial, documents required for trial and the deadlines for submission of same, the length required for the trial and the anticipated trial date.
Motions may be held at any time after a Case Conference has been conducted. Motions deal with issues which cannot wait until the next appearance. Motions may be heard in person if the matter is expected to be argued or by way of documents if the issue is procedural or consented to. Certain criteria needs to be met in order for a Motion to be heard.
Trial is a formal appearance which argues your matter and, at this time, the Judge will pronounced an Order on the issues before Him/Her as they see fit. The Order pronounced at this time will be considered final. If you seek to change the terms of this Order you will be required to bring a Motion to Change or a Consent Motion to Change if the parties agree to the change.
Should you need to discuss any Family Law matters, kindly contact our office and we would be happy to set up an appointment to discuss them with you.
RINALDI SILVA LLP
720 Guelph Line
This article is not legal advice. It is a general guide to the subject matter for your information. Please contact our office and one of our experienced lawyers can assist you with your legal needs.