Family Law Advice - Head Straight to Court - or Not?

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The best family law advice in our opinion starts with avoiding the court process if possible. At the same time, court cannot be avoided at all costs and in all circumstances. Sometimes, especially when the other party is not being reasonable, going to court seems like the only viable option. 

Family law advice comes in many different forms and is different in each case depending on the facts of each separate family. It also depends on whether or not the lawyer giving the advice believes in trying to resolve the matter instead of going to court. 

At Hemminger Law Group, we like to at least, if possible, try to resolve the dispute prior to starting a court action. 

Some lawyers believe that going to court right away is the answer.  Other lawyers, (like us at Hemminger Law Group) offer family law advice differently. Our family law advice is that we do our best to avoid the court system until and unless we feel that we have no choice but to proceed to court.

At the same time, we are definitely willing, prepared, and ready to go to court if necessary. We see court as only one available tool in our toolbox as family law lawyers. Family law matters are governed by the BC Family Law Act.

In some circumstances, however, our family law advice says: Go to Court!

Whether or not we proceed to court is always ultimately our client’s decision, however, there are certain circumstances where we have strongly recommended court action.  Here are some examples:

  • In a case where the Dad and Mom split up before the child was born and the father wanted to have an ongoing and involved role with the child. He wanted to be a Dad. The mother did not want the child to have anything to do with the father and despite his requests she ignored his wishes to see the child. In this case we recommended that he go to court. 
  • In a situation where the Dad had some limited parenting time with the child and the parenting time, at the Mom’s insistence, was fully supervised by a paid professional supervisor. Despite the supervisor stating that the Dad had great parenting skills and that the child would benefit from more time with their Dad and the ultimate removal of supervision, the Mom refused.  We went to court to increase Dad’s parenting time and to remove the requirement for supervision. 
  • The Mom, who had primary care of the child was in desperate need of child support and the Dad refused to make an agreement to pay any. He said that in order for him to pay any child support “a court would have to order it.” So, we went to court and the court ordered it. 
  • A mature couple married and all of the wife’s savings went into the property the husband owned prior to marriage. When the parties separated, the husband refused to compensate the wife for any of the funds that she spent on the property. If he had his way, she was to leave the relationship with no savings, no assets, and no support. Court was necessary. 
  • After a 14-year marriage, the wife had enough of the husband’s violent behavior towards her. She advised him that the marriage was over and the parties separated. The wife worked from the family home and the husband worked out of town and returned to town for one week each month. It was agreed that the husband, while in town, would reside at his brother’s house until matters were settled. Despite the agreement, when the husband returned to town he again insisted upon staying at the family residence. When at the family residence he went through his wife’s personal belongings, was checking the wife’s emails, and was yelling at her every time she attempted to make a work-related telephone call. We went to court to obtain exclusive possession of the family residence for the wife.

Although sometimes it is important to go to court as in the above situations, it is almost always worth considering whether or not the matter can be resolved by avoiding the court process. At Hemminger Law Group we ask ourselves (and our client) in each case if mediation make sense? What about a meeting with the other party and their lawyer? Is the matter straight-forward that settling it with the use of lawyers and letters might do it. 

It always depends upon the circumstances of course and each situation is different.

This article was written by Val Hemminger, lawyer and mediator 

If you want some advice about your family law matter, please contact us at Hemminger Law Group.

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Phone us now at 250-220-8686 or use our contact us form.

Your initial half-hour consultation with one of our lawyers is of no obligation.

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At Hemminger Law Group we commit to providing you with the highest quality legal information on this website. However, nothing on this website should be construed as actual legal advice. Every case is different and it is important that you consult a lawyer before making any decisions with respect to a legal matter.

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