Frequently Asked Questions

You should start by speaking with a qualified family lawyer to obtain an opinion regarding your particular circumstances. To speak with us, please call: 647-551-BANI (2264) or email us at

Collaborative family law is an alternative dispute resolution process where you and your partner work together to resolve your issues out of court with the help of your own collaborative family lawyers. Your collaborative lawyers, sometimes along with other collaborative professionals (financial specialists, social workers, child-care workers etc.) work together to reach a resolution of the issues in your matter. Collaborative family law is completely voluntary. When you agree to participate in the collaborative process, your lawyer will agree in writing, that you if you reach an impasse, your collaborative lawyer will not litigate your matter. The ultimate goal is to resolve all of the issues by way of a final separation agreement.

Mediation is an informal method of alternate dispute resolution available to parties going through a divorce of separation. It is a voluntary process whereby spouses will seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and qualified neutral third party to assist in resolving the issues arising from their separation. It is a voluntary process. Your lawyer will be able to better advise you if mediation is the right process for you and your spouse. Parties may choose to attend mediation with counsel or on their own. As a mediator cannot provide the parties with independent legal advice, it is important to consult with a lawyer before agreeing to terms of settlement reached through the mediation process.

A memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) is  a document created by a mediator to chronicle the arrangements arrived at by the parties during the mediation process. It addresses the parties intentions by setting out the agreed upon terms and conditions of their separation. It is important to note that a MOU is not enforceable and it is not considered a legally binding document. In order to make the terms of the MOU binding, a separation agreement should be drafted by an experienced family lawyer and signed by both parties.

Mediation-Arbitration (commonly referred to as “Med/Arb”) is another form of alternative dispute resolution.  The parties will attempt to first mediate their matter.  In the event that mediation is unsuccessful, the parties will proceed to arbitration where a neutral third party will decide the issues and make an award, which is binding on the parties and enforceable by a court. This form of alternative dispute resolution incentivizes the parties to attempt to resolve the issues at mediation understanding that if they fail to do so, they leave the decision to be made by an impartial third-party.

A Separation Agreement is a legally binding document separated couples enter into that resolves all of the issues arising from the breakdown of their marriage/relationship. Issues may include child and spousal support, property division, and a determination of the children’s living arrangements. Separation agreements can be negotiated between the parties and the counsel without the necessity to go to court, however, they do not legally end your marriage. The only way to legally end a marriage is to get a divorce. To ensure that the Separation Agreement is enforceable, the document must be in writing, signed by the parties and witnessed.

Your case does not need to go to court unless one party has already commenced a court action and you have been served with court documents. If you and your spouse are able to resolve your issues via a separation agreement, you will only be required to start a court process in order to obtain a divorce. You do not need the court’s intervention unless you and your spouse are at an impasse and cannot resolve the issues via negotiation or other methods such as mediation and arbitration.

No two cases are alike. This makes it very difficult for a lawyer to give you an estimate of the legal fees you may incur. If your matter is before the court, you can expect costs to generally be higher. Additionally, a parties’ conduct during negotiations can play a large part in the accumulation of legal fees. Choose your battles carefully.

Barrie Courthouse
75 Mulcaster Street
Barrie, ON L4M 3P2
Areas Serviced: Simcoe County, including Barrie, Innisfil, Bradford and surrounding areas

Brampton Courthouse
7755 Hurontario Street
Brampton, ON L6W 4T1
Areas Serviced: Peel Region including Caledon, Brampton and Mississauga

Milton Courthouse
491 Steeles Ave E.
Milton ON L9T 1Y7
Areas Services: Halton Region including Oakville, Milton and Burlington

Newmarket Courthouse
50 Eagle St. W.
Newmarket, ON L3Y 6B1
Areas Serviced: York Region including Vaughan, King City, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville and East Gwillimbury

North York Courthouse
47 Sheppard Ave. East
North York, ON M2N 5N1
Areas Serviced: Toronto

Toronto Courthouse
311 Jarvis St.
Toronto, ON M5B 2C4
Areas Serviced: Toronto

Toronto Courthouse
393 University Ave., 10th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 1E6
Areas Serviced: Toronto

Orangeville Courthouse
10 Louisa St.
Orangeville, ON L9W 3P9
Areas Serviced: County of Dufferin including Orangeville, Mono and surrounding areas

Oshawa Courthouse
150 Bond Street East
Oshawa ON L1G 0A2
Areas Serviced: Durham Region including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering and surrounding areas