Family Law Matters during pandemic
For the vast majority of family law cases, the threat of going to Court right now holds little weight.
Regional Senior Justice Arrell has recently announced that there will be no in-person matters heard in the Central South Region of the Superior Court of Justice in May or June of 2020, until further notice.
Family law participants are urged more than ever to come up with creative resolutions which use common sense and Covid-19 awareness, while also prioritizing the children's needs. As Justice Pazaratz stated in the oft-referenced Covid-19 family law case: Ribeiro v Wright
: “Right now, families need more cooperation. And less litigation.” http://canlii.ca/t/j60jj
Back and forth letters exchanged between family lawyers may inflame already existing tensions between the parties. While it may be tempting to engage in “litigation by letter writing” to paper the file to use later in Court when the matter is finally heard before a judge, this can be an ultimately unproductive and costly exercise.
Alternative dispute resolution processes such as Collaborative Family Practice and Mediation are needed now more than ever. These services are expanding and offering assistance through technology conferencing platforms.
The Family Law Group at Ross and McBride LLP is offering mediation via a completely confidential video conferencing platform wherein issues such as parenting plans, child support, spousal support and property division may be addressed. The goal is to reach a comprehensive separation agreement which is tailored to meet the needs of the family. The Agreement may address all of the issues, or only one discrete issue, for example, establishing a summer holiday schedule.
In this regard, mediation can assist with getting some of the issues off the table, with the remainder of the issues to be addressed in Court, if absolutely necessary, once further attempts at alternative dispute resolution have been exhausted.
Alternative dispute resolution should be considered and utilized where appropriate, to reduce the significant backlog anticipated when family courts re-open again.
See: Family Law Group at Ross and McBride LLP:
Collaborative Practice Hamilton/Halton: http://www.collabfamlaw.com/