Experienced Mississauga Family Lawyers Serving the GTA
With Offices in Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, and Milton
Matters and disputes related to family law have the potential to impact the most important aspects of our lives. The lawyers at Amiri Family Law are well-aware of this fact. The firm was founded to provide compassionate and solution-oriented family law services to the people of the Greater Toronto Area. With a head office in Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington. We make it convenient for people in the area to access the family law counsel and representation they need.
Amiri Family Law is qualified to handle a wide variety of family law matters and regularly works with clients with legal needs related to divorce, the division of marital assets, child custody, child support, spousal support, adoption, separation agreements, domestic contracts, family law litigation, surrogacy, and parents’ and grandparents’ rights, just to name a few.
We offer consultations and will meet you at our location most convenient for you. To schedule your case evaluation with a Mississauga family lawyer, call our office today at 647-792-2961.
Common Mississauga Family FAQs
You and your spouse should hire different lawyers to represent your best interests in your divorce agreement. This applies even in the case of amicable separations.
Experience tells us that agreements that start off as amicable do not always remain that way. With emotions running high, the situation can rapidly change and disputes can arise..
Besides, it is impossible for one lawyer to represent the best interests of opposing parties in a divorce.
Most family law firms should run “conflict of interest checks” before taking on a client, according to the rules of professional conduct that they are duty bound to follow.
So, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that the firm you trust with your future is not working for the other side too.
At first, it may seem easier and cheaper to hire the same divorce lawyer as your spouse but the golden rule is to hire separate lawyers to defend your competing legal interests and rights.
Some divorcing couples work on their own divorce agreement or quickly draft a set of guidelines about how the key aspects of a divorce will work (division of property, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.)
They simply want to get the divorce out of the way as smoothly and as quickly as possible with minimum fuss.
While that is admirable, it may not be in their best interests and it may well hurt them in the future.
It is always important to protect what you are legally entitled to.
Besides, problems can and often do arise. A matter that starts out as an uncontested divorce can end up creating conflict between spouses.
An uncontested divorce that is smooth from start to finish is the ideal scenario. It takes the least time, is the least stressful, is the least expensive in terms of legal fees, and neither party is required to appear in court.
However, all divorces must be approved by the Court. If the Court believes that the agreement presented to it is not in the best interests of the children, or there are other problems with it being executable (for instance, if you have not been separated for a year before filing for a divorce), a judge will intervene. This will usually cause untimely delays and extra costs.
Thus, simple divorces can become much more complex.
The best way to avoid this is to hire a skilled divorce lawyer from the beginning.
An experienced and knowledgeable family lawyer can guide you through the divorce process, and anticipate and quickly resolve any issues that would otherwise delay your divorce Order being granted by a judge.
In the eyes of the Court, the most important part of a divorce agreement is what happens to the children of the marriage.
The children’s best interests come first and a judge will consider their unique situation and requirements, basing his or her decisions on these factors, first and foremost.
There are several possible outcomes:
- Joint Custody – where both parents share the right to make important decisions regarding a child’s upbringing, such as decisions related to healthcare, education, extra-curricular activities, and religion..
- Sole custody – where one parent has the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing alone, but must inform the other parent of the decisions that have been made.
- Split custody – where one parent has custody of one or more of the children of the marriage, and the other parent has custody of one or more of the other children of the marriage. Note that this is a very rare arrangement.
In most cases, the preference for the court will be for the children to live together and for both parents to have a say in their upbringing, with joint decisions made on important matters such as education, healthcare, etc.
Where no divorce agreement can be reached between spouses even with the intervention of mediators and arbitrators, divorce litigation may be required.
In these cases, the divorce process is likely to extend well beyond the few months that an uncontested divorce generally takes.
In fact, with the most complex legal battles, multiple appearances in court may be required and proceedings may last over a year.
The most common points of contention in a divorce are
- Child custody: which parent(s) will make important life decisions and look after the children?
- Child Support: which parent will pay support and how much will they pay?
- Division of Property: how assets (money, property, shares, vehicles, etc.) are divided
- Payment of Debts: who is responsible for the outstanding debts?
- Spousal Support: how much is required to support a spouse after the marriage ends?
Make sure that the family law firm you hire at the beginning of your divorce process is able to represent you for litigation, if necessary.
If you do need to go to court, an experienced divorce litigator can greatly affect the settlement or result you achieve through litigation. And this will have a tremendous impact on your future.
With a contested divorce, you and your lawyer will usually need to complete the following steps:
- Complete the relevant divorce Application forms
- File the application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and pay the filing fee ($212.00)
- Serve the Application to your spouse
- Await your spouse’s “Answer” (within 30 days)
- Serve and file your “Reply” to your spouse’s Answer (10 days)
- Attend the Mandatory Information Program at the local courthouse
- Attend a Case Conference with your lawyer, your spouse and their lawyer, and a judge
- Serve, file, and argue motions (temporary rulings) if child custody, child/spousal support, or other important interim matters are not settled at the case conference
- Attend a settlement conference and/or trial management conference if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement after the case conference
- Conduct a trial, where a judge will issue a ruling on the remaining issues
Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts, recognised by the Ontario Family Law Act, that set out the terms of a marriage and divorce.
They cover topics such as:
- Ownership and Division of Property
- Spousal Support Obligations
- Who has the right to direct the education and moral training of the children
In the past, prenuptial agreements were mainly drawn up by high net worth individuals who wanted to protect assets accumulated over their lifetimes.
However, they have become more widely used as people tend to get married later (or divorce and re-marry) and have already accumulated significant assets that they wish to protect in the event of separation or dissolution of marriage.
A prenuptial agreement can also be a useful tool for protecting the rights of children from a previous marriage.
Note that the Ontario courts are able to exercise discretion when enforcing these contracts, especially when it comes to the best interests of the children and when deciding whether the division of property or spousal support that was previously agreed to was, in fact, fair to both parties.
The agreement may also be challenged if there are grounds to do so (for instance, if one of the parties failed to disclose some assets or it was discovered that one party entered into the agreement under duress).
It is important to discuss with a family lawyer whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you as an individual and as a couple.
If so, your family lawyer will help ensure that the agreement is drafted not only to protect your interests but to be enforceable according to family law in Ontario.
Remember that it is never too late to draw up a marriage contract to serve the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement. This is sometimes called a “postnuptial agreement” and it can be created after you are married if you and your spouse are in agreement.
According to a recent study by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the average hourly rate for a lawyer in Ontario is $219 – $438.
The average cost of a family lawyer for an uncontested divorce in Ontario was $1,302 and for contested divorces, the average cost was $15,306.
At Amiri Family Law, we will happily provide you with a legal fee estimate after meeting with you and discussing your case.
Common Mississauga Divorce FAQs
The divorce process in Ontario will vary slightly, depending on whether your divorce proceeds as an uncontested divorce or a contested one.
However, every divorce begins in the same way.
Basic requirements for divorce in Ontario
Before filing for a divorce in Ontario, Canadian federal law states that you need to meet three basic requirements:
- You and your spouse must be legally married under Canadian law or your marriage in another country must be recognized in Canada.
- Your marriage must have broken down.
- In most cases, you or your spouse must have lived in Ontario for a year.
The grounds for marriage breakdown are when:
- You have been living apart for 12 months or more; or
- Your spouse has been physically or mentally cruel to you; or
- Your spouse has committed adultery.
The uncontested divorce process
Once you meet the above requirements, it is important to hire a divorce lawyer.
This applies even in an uncontested divorce where both parties appear to agree on the terms of the divorce and are prepared to sign a separation agreement.
Experience shows us that consulting an experienced lawyer as early as possible in the process avoids expensive mistakes being made and ensures that your best interests are protected from the beginning.
Besides, uncontested divorces can turn into uncontested divorces.
Your divorce lawyer can help you with the following steps of the divorce process:
- Completing the divorce application forms for Ontario
- Filing the application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice or the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice
- Serving divorce papers and awaiting a response from the other party (within 30 days)
- Finalization of the divorce agreement and court approval
The contested divorce process
The contested divorce process has many extra steps.
Most people want to avoid the extra expense and stress of a divorce trial, but sometimes this is the only available course of action.
In some cases, no agreement can be reached on issues such as:
- Division of property, including all assets
- Payment of outstanding debts, including the mortgage
- Child custody and parenting rights of the non-custodial parent
- Child support and Section 7 expenses
- Spousal support
Your lawyer will guide you through the following additional steps in the process, including:
- Mediation or Arbitration
- Applying for Divorce in Court
- Scheduling a Case Conference where a judge considers each party’s position on the disputed issues between them and tries to facilitate a negotiated resolution to the issue
- Scheduling and arguing motions (temporary rulings) when interim, for instance, child custody or other complex issues, are involved
- Scheduling Settlement or Trial Management Conferences
- Conducting a trial if you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement on the disputed issues between you
Every divorce in Ontario must pass through the Court to be approved and for a Divorce Order to be issued.
You must demonstrate to the Court that you have been separated for at least one year (or that there has been cruelty or adultery committed against you) in order for a divorce application to be considered and approved.
If there are matters in the divorce agreement that are contested, it is generally suggested that spouses attempt to settle and negotiate a resolution (or attend mediation or arbitration) rather than go to immediately file an Application for divorce in court.
After an initial 12 months of separation, an uncontested divorce will generally pass through the Court and be finalized within 4-6 months.
Contested divorces typically require many months (and in the rare and worst cases, years) to complete.
According to the office of the Attorney General of Ontario, the total court fees associated with a divorce in the province are $632.
This is broken down in the following way:
“The first payment of $212 is due when the application for divorce is filed which includes court fees of $202 and $10 that is collected for the federal Department of Justice. Additional court fees of $420 are paid before the divorce is reviewed by the court.”
There are, of course, other costs associated with a divorce, including lawyer fees.
Where a divorce is complex and an agreement cannot be easily reached, with complications involving spousal support or child custody and access, multiple court hearings may be required, and the case may even go to trial (with witnesses and months of litigation involved).
In such cases, an individual can expect to pay significant legal fees in addition to court fees. This is why the preferred first step in any divorce case is to attempt to negotiate a settlement first before resorting to litigation.
It may be tempting, especially when a simple agreement between you and your spouse appears to be achievable, to proceed on your own and file for a divorce without a lawyer.
While there is nothing stopping you from doing this, it is not advised.
Problems can develop later on in the process, or even after you have signed an agreement, and you risk agreeing to a settlement that is not in your best interests.
A lawyer can help you understand all the issues that need to be settled before a divorce can be finalized, and will advise and inform you regarding your rights and obligations along the way.
Where there are matters like child custody and child support, or where the marriage is long and involves considerable assets or debts, it is especially important to consult with a lawyer from the beginning in order to obtain a fair and desirable outcome.
At a minimum, every individual considering a divorce should consult with a lawyer to better understand the divorce process, and certainly before signing an agreement or going to court.
A skilled divorce lawyer will anticipate issues you are likely to face, both immediate and long-term, and will advise you accordingly so that you are able to agree to a comprehensive and lasting agreement that will protect your rights and interests, and the interests of your children, well into the future, allowing you to move forward with your life with peace of mind.
The Amiri Family Law Difference
At Amiri Family Law, we understand that issues related to family law are highly personal and there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution to legal matters. For this reason, we take the time to understand your goals and needs and then create a plan to meet them.
You have probably heard about lawyers who won’t return phone calls or emails for days. At Amiri Family Law, we are dedicated to keeping our clients fully apprised of the status and progress of their cases and recognize that communicating with our clients is of the utmost importance.
We understand that legal services can put a strain on almost any budget and that they can also make a stressful situation every worse. For this reason, we provide top-notch legal services at competitive and affordable rates.
No Hidden Costs
At Amiri Family Law, we provide transparent, all-inclusive billing. We will only bill you for the legal services we provide, and you’ll never see extra charges for things like photocopies, mileage, parking, or long-distance phone calls.
We proudly serve clients in the Greater Toronto Area.
Separation is often the first step to ending your marriage and can protect you and your legal rights while you consider your next move. At Amiri Family Law, we draft separation agreements that address the important issues related to separating from your spouse, allowing you to rest assured that your rights are protected.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, Amiri Family Law is here to help. If appropriate, we will review the facts of your case and develop a strategic plan to bring your divorce case to the most favourable resolution possible.
Child Custody and Access
As a parent who is going through a divorce, your relationship with your children is likely one of your highest concerns moving forward. At Amiri Family Law, we are committed to protecting the legal rights of divorcing parents and do everything we can to protect our clients’ parental rights.
Child support can be a financial necessity for custodial parents who seek it and a significant burden for parents who are required to pay it. At Amiri Family Law, we work hard to ensure that our clients’ child custody disputes are resolved fairly and equitably.
Spousal support can have a significant effect on the financial well-being and quality of life for both those paying it and those receiving it. We do everything we can to ensure that any spousal award in your case is fair and meets your economic needs.
Property And Asset Division
The division of marital property and assets can be an extremely contentious issue in many divorces. At Amiri Family Law, we will protect your rights fight tirelessly to ensure that your property division dispute is resolved in a way that allows you to feel like you have walked away with your share of the marital estate.
Nima is someone highly committed to his clients and shows a strong understanding of the law and litigation. He is someone that I would trust with sending my friends and family to for important legal matters. Highly recommended.
Nima is one of the brightest and most dedicated individuals I know. He’s a fantastic lawyer and an even better person, and I would recommend his services and advice to anyone who needs a true professional in their corner.
Nima is always available to answer all of my questions. He provided me with thoughtful responses and was incredibly knowledgeable.
Nima is the most dedicated lawyer I know. He cares a lot about his clients and is deeply committed to defending their rights, working tirelessly to do so. I haven’t seen anyone who works as hard as Nima and I would wholeheartedly recommend him and the Amiri Law Group to anyone.
An honest, trustworthy, and incredibly hard-working lawyer. One of the best.
I highly recommend Amiri Law Group. Knowledgable, personable, and trustworthy.