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Experienced family law lawyers understand that, for most clients, a separation or divorce is a confusing and upsetting process that comes with a plethora of questions. Family law questions are always best answered by a qualified, competent lawyer like Allan Goldstein of the GOLDSTEIN Divorce & Family Law Group. Here we have attempted to answer a few of the basics.
The effects of divorce impact not just you and your spouse, but your children, parents, and other family members and friends; your finances; and many aspects of your future. If a separation or divorce has become necessary, you need to contact an experienced family lawyer who can guide you through this process and offer sound legal advice each step of the way. The ideal advocate will have a solid understanding of divorce law in Ontario as well as the many legal issues that accompany a separation, such as child custody, access, division of property and financial obligations. Consult with a lawyer as soon as you have made the decision to separate, or if you become aware that your spouse has secured a lawyer. Resist the urge to look at legal advice as a weapon in a battle; rather, legal advice is just an important resource you can draw upon to protect your and your family’s best interests.
Separations are rarely simple, but if you and your spouse are willing to work together in matters such as property division and what is in the best interests of the children, then your separation and divorce proceedings may run smoother and with less expense and anxiety. Your lawyer can be an important ally during the negotiation process to make sure that you are treated fairly and your rights are protected.
Ultimately, the question of child custody will be determined by a family court, on the basis of what is in the childrens’ best interests, given the family’s unique circumstances. There are several common custody arrangements that a court may consider. In a sole custody situation, the children live primarily with one parent, who has final decision-making authority over the children’s major life decisions. The other parent has visitation rights. In shared custody, a child’s time is divided equally between the parents, and the parents will share in major decisions concerning health care, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Joint custody is similar to shared custody, except that the children will reside primarily with one parent while the other will have visitation rights. Split custody means that one child is in the custody of one parent while the other child is in the custody of the other parent. Since courts are often reluctant to split up siblings, this sort of custody arrangement is less common.
If you have been abused, seek immediate medical help and preserve all of the records related to your injuries and the treatment you received. Call the police and report the abuse; this is important for your protection as well as to provide documentation that can play an important role in your family law matters. Take immediate steps to remove yourself from the situation; this includes removing the children. Talk to an experienced family lawyer right away; your lawyer can provide guidance on your legal options, including filing criminal charges and securing a restraining order.
If you feel that you are in an emergency situation and do not have enough time to speak to a lawyer, you should attend at any family law court and speak with duty counsel. They will assist you to obtain whatever temporary orders are necessary until you have hired a lawyer. If the emergency involves violence or an attempt to abscond with your child(ren), then you should also attend at your local police station.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you should apply to Legal Aid Ontario for a certificate. You can use the certificate to pay for your legal services. Not all lawyers take legal aid certificates. Even lawyers who do take legal aid certificates don’t always take them for every type of case. For more information on Legal Aid, go to www.legalaid.on.ca.
The Toronto family lawyers of the GOLDSTEIN Divorce & Family Law Group are committed to protecting your rights and helping you find solutions for your most difficult family law issues. They have extensive experience in family law, and have earned their place among the most respected and sought-after divorce lawyers in the Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton areas. Allan Goldstein is committed to staying available and in good communication with his clients, returning calls and messages promptly and providing clear and sound advice every step of the way. The firm will work to resolve your case efficiently without sacrificing the level of quality you need from your law firm. The process begins with a telephone consultation, so call Allan Goldstein today at 1-866-582-5337.