4 Key Steps in Family Law Litigation in BC
Key Stages in BC Family Law Litigation
Divorce Litigation in BC
Many people find litigation to very stressful, and divorce litigation is certainly no exception. When spouses separate and they are not able to come to a mutually agreed-upon settlement, litigation will often be required to make both final and temporary decisions regarding guardianship, parenting time, and division of assets and debts. Here are the 4 stages that occur in many family law cases:
4 Stages of Many BC Family Law Cases
1) Filing of Pleadings – The filing of pleadings refers to the exchange of legal documents which commence a family law action. One spouse typically files a Notice of Family Claim and serves this document on their former spouse. The receiving spouse will then file a Response to Family Claim and potentially a counter-claim. These documents are very important and require careful preparation as they effectively tell the Court what your case is all about and what the respective positions of both parties are.
2) Financial Disclosure – Both parties in a family law action must make full and accurate financial disclosure through the use of a sworn Form F8 Financial Statement. This document is intended to give the Court a clear picture of each person’s financial position and can require a number of attachments including T4 statements and T1 Income Tax Returns.
3) The Case Conference –Family law matters in Supreme Court require the parties to attend a Judicial Case Conference. This is an opportunity for both parties (and their lawyers) to spend 90 minutes with a Judge or Master to attempt to see if there is any agreement on any issues and make decisions regarding procedure. The Case Conference Can be a useful tool for parties to narrow the issues in dispute and potentially reach a settlement.
4) Pre-Trial Applications & Trial – If the parties are not able to agree on a resolution to all issues eventually they must appear before a Judge for a decision to be made. Pre-Trial Applications occur before the actual trial and can be very useful in obtaining interim (or temporary relief). Trials are the last stage of the process (barring any appeal) and can be very expensive and filled with uncertainty. Lawyers will usually encourage their clients to reach a resolution before trial.
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