Family law governs the legal obligations and responsibilities of spouses, parents, and children. Whether you are married or in a conjugal relationship, family law dictates certain rights and responsibilities you have towards your spouse while you are together and if the relationship ends. If you have dependents, you also have legal obligations and duties towards them.
Three different courts in Ontario deal with family law: Unified Family Court, Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice.
1. Unified Family Court
The Unified Family Court hears all family law matters, including divorce, division of property, child and spousal support, custody and access, adoption, and child protection applications.
2. Ontario Court of Justice
The Ontario Court of Justice hears family law matters, including custody, access, child and spousal support, adoption and child protection applications. The Ontario Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction over divorce or division of property matters.
3. Superior Court of Justice
The Superior Court of Justice can decide family law matters involving divorce, division of property, child and spousal support, and custody and access. However, the court does not hear adoption and child protection matters, except on appeal.
Family law rules and procedures are complex. Online resources cannot possibly answer all your questions, and as always, you should understand your rights and obligations before committing to any legal decision. If you are separated or are thinking of separating, we strongly advise you to seek a lawyer’s advice.
Some common family law issues the firm can help you with include
Getting a divorce
Child custody, access and support
Drafting domestic contracts