Saturday, December 19, 2009

Family Law Changes Planned in Ontario

From CBC News:

Under the changes, people will have more access to legal advice from the outset, as well as to options like mediation, arbitration or collaborative law, which are much less combative than the court process.

That will also free up court time for cases that must be argued through the system, although those will now have less paperwork and fewer steps so that people can get to a judge, and a decision, sooner.

"It takes the time and expense that we spend on cases that shouldn't have that time and expense, and moves those resources to the cases that need more attention, helping them to be resolved faster and better as well," said Bentley.

As part of the redistribution, some of the $150 million committed to legal aid over the next four years, for instance, will go toward providing more access to legal advice for people getting divorced.

The article notes, however, that the use of existing funding will change, but no supplemental funding will be given for the family law court system. 

My initial thoughts turned to the studies that suggest that litigation is best for divorcing women, who tend to be detrimentally passive in mediation.  However, I think providing legal advice on divorce early will be very effective because 1) I have read that many people change their minds after a divorce consultation, and 2) I know many people have misconceptions about divorce.  We shall see the effectiveness of these changes.

Read the full CBC article here.

MR

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