When should you consult a divorce lawyer

Consult with a divorce lawyer
Going through a separation or divorce can be overwhelming. During these times it can be very difficult for parties to focus on how to deal with their issues. It is crucial that parties turn their mind to learning about their rights and obligations during separation. This article will explain common situations when parties should consult a divorce lawyer.

Initial Separation

It is a good idea to at least consult a divorce lawyer at the outset of your separation. Why? The actions you take now at the beginning of your separation can have significant consequences down the road. Issues relating to parenting, support and property all require proper planning. If you are prepared with a proper plan from the beginning it can save you significant time, stress and money down the road.

Typically, divorce lawyers at our firm will offer a free consultation to help you understand the basics of family law and to provide you with general information. For more personal and customized advice, you will need to retain a divorce lawyer to help you. It may be worthwhile to have a divorce lawyer on retainer during your initial separation period so you can have peace of mind. If you have a divorce lawyer on retainer you can call, email and meet with the lawyer based on your needs.

Vacating the Matrimonial Home

If you are considering vacating the matrimonial home, you should seriously consider consulting a divorce lawyer. There are multiple scenarios in which it may not be to your advantage to vacate the home while separated. One such scenario is when children are involved and you are considering sole custody. If you vacate the home and leave the children in the home with your spouse this could significantly weaken your case. Having said this, there are situations when vacating the home is unavoidable due to safety concerns. However, since each case is different it is in your best interest to consult a divorce lawyer for your particular case.

Denial of Access

If you have been denied access or are considering denying your spouse access to the children, it is in your interest to consult with a divorce lawyer. The court takes denial of access to children very seriously. While there are some genuine situations when denial of access is allowed, this is the exception and not the rule. If you consult a divorce lawyer you will be able to better understand your rights and obligations in this situation.

Denial of Support

This is another common reason why parties will initially consult a divorce lawyer. If you are in need of child support or spousal support, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. Understanding your rights and taking timely action to initiate court proceedings, if needed, can have significant financial implications. For example, if you delay bringing a claim for child support or spousal support, the court can restrict the number of months or years for a retroactive support claim. For child support, the court will usually not permit you to go back more than three years to claim retroactive child support. For spousal support, the court usually will restrict retroactive spousal support claims to when court proceedings where commenced. However, since each case is different, it is best to consult with a divorce lawyer to understand your situation better.

Liquidating Assets or Reckless Depletion

If your spouse is liquidating significant assets such as draining bank accounts, selling property, giving away large gifts or gambling large amounts, you should consult a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. It can become quite difficult to stop such behaviour or mitigate the damages of such behaviour unless it is dealt with early on. In addition, the longer your spouse goes on recklessly spending or liquidating assets, the harder it will become to trace amounts in the future.

Threats and Abuse

If you are facing emotional, verbal or physical abuse, you should consult a divorce lawyer to see what options you have available to put a stop to such behaviour. There are different options available depending on the severity of your spouse’s behaviour. Calling the police, obtaining a non-harrassment order, obtaining a restraining order and other such options can be used to prevent ongoing threats and abuse.

For more information about obtaining a divorce or family law matters, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer here.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with a family lawyer

Other Articles to Read

Child Access in Family Law

The Family Responsibility Office

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption