Separation usually signals the breakdown of a married or common-law relationship. Often such issues can be settled by negotiation and documents in a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a contract that records a settlement of the issues that arise when a married or common-law relationship ends. It is important to obtain Family Law advice as soon as possible after separation or in contemplation of separation. Legal advice can cover rights and obligations relating to asset division, child and spousal support, parenting issues and more.
Family Law Proceedings
An action is a family law proceeding started in court. A court proceeding is necessary, for example, to obtain a divorce, which is the legal end to a marriage. Sometimes a family law proceeding is started to address asset division, child and spousal support issues and parenting issues. Family law proceedings are sometimes referred to as litigation. Most often family law proceedings are resolved by consent, without requiring a trial.
Mediation and Arbitration
Mediation is a process in which the two sides of a dispute work with a neutral third party, a mediator, to reach an agreement. Mediation is a legal process intended to help resolve disputes without going to court.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process in which the parties hire a neutral third party, an arbitrator, to make a decision resolving their dispute that they agree they will be bound by. The arbitrator’s role is to act like a judge and impose a resolution based on evidence and arguments of the parties.
Collaboration is a special process in which both parties agree to work together with lawyers to come to an agreement. There is no court involved in the collaborative process, but rather a team approach. In the collaborative process, both parties and their lawyers sign an agreement that they will not pursue a family law proceeding.
Parenting Coordination is a process in which a neutral third party, a parenting coordinator, helps parents to resolve parenting conflicts. The goal of the parenting coordinator is to minimize both conflict and court appearances.
Marriage and Cohabitation
Marriage agreements are contracts signed by couples before or shortly after they marry. Marriage agreements are intended to deal with legal issues on the event of a marriage breakdown; however, they can also deal with the treatment of income, assets and debts during the marriage.
Cohabitation agreements are contracts signed by couples who plan to live together or are already living together.