5 Things to Know Before Getting a Divorce in Ontario During the Pandemic
1. Get your technology in order.
The new normal for most lawyers and the Court are virtual hearings and settlement conferences. This means you need to learn and get familiar with zoom and other related technologies. And you are going to need a good internet connection. There are zoom tips, best practices and protocols you should review in advance and the court still requires a decorum, respect and professionalism.
2. Getting your matter before Judge will not be easy.
The Courts are still implementing new technologies for online filing and remote, or virtual, court attendances. There are new rules, forms and deadlines that need to be followed. In addition, the Court is still dealing with a significant back log of cases that were cancelled in the spring when we went in to lock down and isolation.
3. There are lots of ways you can settle the terms of your divorce outside of the Court systems.
Alternative dispute resolution professionals, mediators, arbitrators and collaborative practice lawyers continue to settle cases. One family recently settled the terms of their divorce in under seven days. Once you negotiate your agreement the terms of your settlement can be filed with the court at a later date if necessary.
4. Patience is the new currency of the pandemic.
You will need to be patient with your ex, your children, and the professionals you engage to help you through the divorce process. Sometimes technology just doesn’t work, and remote court hearings or settlement meetings need to be rescheduled. Home schooling, spouses working from home and everyone out of their daily routines (sleep, exercise, diet to name a few) creates added pressure and stressors. Patience will go a long way to easing some these pressures and will help alleviate some of the stress of divorce.
5. Be practical.
Try to accommodate your ex and the ever-changing needs and of the children, schooling, work environments and your family. Taking a practical approach and putting your children’s’ interest first will often result in an acceptable result to whatever issues you may face. Having control over the outcome will also be more satisfying. Leaving decisions about your income, property, custody and care of your children to a third-party stranger (such as a Judge who had never met your children and probably never will, or an arbitrator) may result in an outcome that seems unfair and not suitable for your family. Taking a practical approach to your divorce will help you control and shape the outcome.