Going through a separation or divorce will be emotionally upsetting. If you have young children, they will often be the most important matter in the minds of both parents. You will no doubt want to find the best possible way of ensuring that your children suffer as little as possible as a result of the relationship coming to an end.
For couples with and without children, there are also issues to be resolved with respect to each of your finances, and thoughts of uncertainty regarding whether you will receive a fair division of marital assets can cause a different kind of stress. These issues must be handled by an expert for the very reason that so much is at stake.
The most fundamentally important questions which will need to be answered are:
- What will be a fair division of financial assets?
- How much spousal support is going to be paid?
- What will be the result for child custody, child access and visitation?
- How much child support is going to be paid?
An experienced Moose Jaw divorce lawyer will work to achieve the best legal outcomes for you possible according to the law.
A word or two about “who is the best Moose Jaw divorce lawyer”?
You may be searching through the hundreds of potential Moose Jaw divorce lawyers looking for the “best Moose Jaw divorce lawyer” to help you out and work on your side. As there are so many to choose from, the decision is an important one. You need to know however that no one lawyer can definitively say that they are the best Moose Jaw divorce lawyer or the best Moose Jaw separation lawyer.
In truth there are many equally skilled and capable divorce lawyers in Moose Jaw and you should proceed with caution if one or another claims to be the absolute best! We recommend you should ideally consult with more than one Moose Jaw divorce or separation lawyer and then decide for yourself which one you are most comfortable to hire to represent you with your family law matter. You should try to hire a Moose Jaw divorce lawyer whom you trust and one who is experienced in family law and divorce cases.
What we can tell you is that Merchant Law Group LLP is very strong in divorce and family law issues with decades of experience practising in this area of law. Our firm was established in 1986 and we work hard for all our clients. Divorce and family law is a large part of our practice and many of or lawyers are exclusively involved in this field of law. It would be an honour for us to assist you.
Below we provide to potential clients some tips about how to file for divorce, how to proceed with an uncontested divorce or complete a so-called legal separation.
Filing for divorce / Grounds for divorce
There can be a huge sense of loss and hurt after separation, and emotions can frequently affect your decision making. When people become angry and aggressive throughout the proceedings it is like throwing gasoline on the fire.
Coming to a reasonable settlement regarding the most important issues of assets and property division, child custody, child access or visitation, and child support, and spousal support is made all the more difficult.
Fewer than one out of 20 divorce cases go to trial. Although certain documentation will need to be filed with the court in order to get a final order for divorce and recognition of any divorce settlement, an actual court battle should be used only as the last resort.
This avoids the destructive fighting that only adds to cost, delay, and emotional upset. Our lawyers will fight in court and go to trial where a fair result is not achievable through negotiation and settlement of all the issues important to you. Our firm’s divorce lawyers are well adept to take cases to trial and have done so on numerous occasions with success.
Divorce in Saskatchewan Pursuant to the Divorce Act
When someone decides they want to file for divorce, they have to specify the reason which we call the “grounds” for divorce. There are three possibilities for the grounds to file for divorce:
- mental or physical cruelty; or
- living “separate and apart” for more than one year.
The most commonly used is “living separate and apart for more than one year”.
You can file for divorce and state that you have been “living separate and apart” even if you have been living under the same roof. In other words you do not need to be living in separate residential addresses to be considered living separate and apart. This provides a method to get the case for divorce moving much more quickly.
The grounds of adultery and/or mental or physical cruelty is almost never used these days. This is in part due to the fact that establishing “fault” or “misconduct” by the other spouse will not help in any legally relevant questions relating to spousal support, child support, or property issues. As well, because getting into a legal battle over these issues and arguing them out is time-consuming and a waste of legal fees, again with no benefit whatsoever.
That said, if you have suffered abuse or cruelty, your skilled and experienced Moose Jaw divorce lawyers and Moose Jaw separation lawyers will be especially caring and compassionate to your situation and can help you cope for example with a referral to an appropriate counsellor, divorce coach, or certain support groups who may be more valuable to you and helpful as opposed to making an issue of it in court which will only increase the expense.
For the issue of property and assets division, you remain married up until the date the order for divorce is declared by the court. The issue of the division of matrimonial or spousal property remains alive until there is a court order or until the spouses have entered into an agreement or written contract for the division of said assets, each having obtained independent legal advice.
Some cases may lend themselves to mediation or arbitration outside of the more formal court setting. Starting the negotiation process by filing and serving divorce papers is the norm but should be discussed with your lawyer.
In certain cases it may not be the best idea. The relationship needs should first be considered and assessed when deciding the best tactical approach towards when to file for divorce. On the other hand there are certainly tactical advantages to being the first to file. All of this should be discussed with your lawyer at the earliest opportunity.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement then the courts can be asked to step in to decide matters and the Court of Queen’s Bench has the authority conferred on it to deal with all the issues.
The Court may be asked on an urgent and interim basis to make orders for child custody, access, and visitation, interim spousal support, and other related issues such as restraining orders where necessary.
Interim orders for support are routinely done and until a final order for divorce is made, the interim orders may remain in place indefinitely or later be varied on application to the Court.
The Court may be asked to make final orders at Trial or oftentimes parties will settle at Pre-Trial Settlement or mediation. The Court will then be asked to recognize the settlement reached and pronounce a final order to deal with all of the issues, including the final order for divorce.
Highly contested litigious legal battles can occur, with a protracted litigation style of divorce or separation case. In our experience, this results in much higher legal fees than necessary to file for divorce and deal with all the issues that need to be addressed. We understand that it does not have to be this way. It will take a willingness by both parties to engage in some give and take.
That said, in a high net worth divorce or valuable farm division type divorce for instance, the legal fees might well be justifiable.
Cases Involving Children
In cases involving children, prior to granting the divorce, the Court will ensure “reasonable arrangements” are in place, keeping the best interests of the children in mind, for their ongoing care and support.
If the Judge cannot be totally satisfied that the settlement agreement reached by the parties is fully reasonable, then the divorce will not proceed unless and until such arrangements are in place which the Court finds reasonable.
The courts will ensure that any agreement that divorcing spouses enter into will be fair to any children who may be involved, without prejudicing their rights to a fair and appropriate level of child support.
How much do Moose Jaw divorce and separation lawyers cost?
Divorce law is typically practised on an hourly rate basis for the time of the lawyers involved, although for some routine work a fixed fee may also be quoted. Standard hourly rates range from approximately $200 to $500 per hour although very senior counsel may charge even double that amount.
It is nearly impossible for a competent divorce lawyer to indicate or quote at the start of a divorce or separation case a specific and accurate total fee for the legal services which will be required because every case is different and the amount of fees are based on the hours of work involved.
Again a division of a farm or other high net worth divorces may necessitate the need for the added scrutiny and work. Whereas a divorce where the couple have no assets or children might justify a quick settlement without looking in to the finances under a microscope.
Less conflict usually means less paid in lawyer fees. In addition to lessening costs through reasonable cooperation, achieving a resolution to the issues as quickly as possible is also in the best interests of both parties seeking a divorce to achieve closure.
How does one get started?
If you wish to get started with a divorce, and you have made up your mind that it is the right course of action to pursue, your Moose Jaw divorce lawyer or Moose Jaw separation lawyer will first ask you for a number of documents in order to proceed:
- Proof of your identity (i.e. a copy of your passport, driver’s licence, or other government issued identification)
- Original or certified copy of your marriage certificate (issued by the province in which you were married)
- A photograph of your spouse for the purpose of personally serving documents upon him.
- If you have children under 16 years of age, you will be required to attend the Parenting After Separation Course; once completed you will need to provide the original yellow certificate of attendance.
Can I get a divorce in Saskatchewan if I just moved to the province?
Note that the law, as it applies in Saskatchewan, and according to the Divorce Act, requires that one of the spouses must have been “ordinarily resident” in the province of Saskatchewan for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. Make sure that you check this with your lawyer if you are in any doubt about whether you have been “ordinarily resident” in the province, as a judge has no capacity to waive this requirement. In relation to the Parenting after Separation Course, your Moose Jaw divorce lawyer or Moose Jaw separation lawyer will be able to provide you with all the information to help you to register for the course. In certain circumstances the requirement may be waived, but this requires a court application. Further if you were married outside Canada, provide the documents you do have and your divorce lawyer will be able to determine what else may be required thereafter.
How to Get in Touch
We know you will likely have lots of questions. Call and speak to one of our Moose Jaw divorce lawyers to help you get the answers. Phones are monitored seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Call 306-693-7777 now.
Or if you prefer, feel free to fill out the form on this page for a response by email or call back from a lawyer. Or else stop by with an appointment, we are located in downtown Moose Jaw at:
310 Main Street North,
One of our experienced Moose Jaw divorce lawyers will be more than happy to assist you.