Who is the Best Divorce Lawyer in Ottawa?
If you are in the midst of an impending separation or divorce, you may be asking who the best divorce lawyer in Ottawa is. While this may seem like a good question to ask, it is likely that you are asking the wrong question. The term “best” is difficult to describe and what is “best” to you in your situation, may not be the “best” in another situation.
What are you looking for in a divorce lawyer?
Before you start on your search to find the best divorce lawyer for you, it is important for you to understand exactly what it is you need. Here are a few broad areas that you may be needing legal help on:
Are there significant property issues? If you are thinking this means who will get the living room set and who will get the bedroom set, you likely don’t need any lawyer. The same may hold true if you and your spouse purchased a single house shortly after marriage and this is the only house you have lived in. That may very well be a simple property matter that can be resolved quickly.
Significant property issues typically mean a resident brought into the marriage at the beginning, or seasonal homes, foreign property, investment property in other provinces or property that was an inheritance for one spouse.
If you find yourself in a situation with significant property issues, you will want to discuss this with any potential lawyer during your initial consultation.
If both spouses make close to the same income and are T4 earners with no bonus structure or overtime, you have fairly simple income issues.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in on of these situations, you likely have more complex income issues you will want to discuss with your lawyer:
- private corporation income
- income earned through complex bonus structures
- income earned through investments or investment properties
- One spouse deliberately avoiding employment income or earning far less than their ability
If either you or your spouse has a defined benefit pension, this may cause a complex issue with property distribution and you will want to talk to any potential lawyer about their experience in this area. Some considerations are the length of time with the government or private organization, the years left for work, pension valuation and options for splitting the value.
This can be a complex issue if there is something like a Veterans Affairs Disability Pension. How that money is received, what it is being received for, dependents that are included in the monthly amount or any significant lump sum payments can introduce some complexity to your property distribution.
Courts only have one concern with custody and that is for the best interests of the children. Typically if there are no serious concerns with either parent, decision making in the children’s best interests will be split. This can be a simple area, but if there are safety concerns for a child, this can also be an extremely complex areas that you will want to discuss with any potential lawyer.
Child support can be a simple question depending on how you answered the income question. Federal child support guidelines effectively eliminate all the guesswork. Spousal support can be complex depending on a number of factors. Each case is unique and you will want to discuss your unique circumstances with any potential lawyer.
What skills are needed in a divorce lawyer?
What skills are you looking for in a divorce lawyer? This is very much dependent on how you are hoping to resolve your issues. Are both spouses being reasonable and looking for a quick and fair process? If so, you likely are looking for someone can effectively negotiate with the lawyer for your spouse.
You may also have found yourself in an unnecessarily high-conflict divorce. In that situation, you may need a lawyer who isn’t afraid to litigate. You also need a lawyer who can effectively avoid costly litigation.
Who is the best divorce lawyer for me?
The most significant skill you may be seeking in a divorce lawyer is likely the ability to listen to you. After your initial consultation, your lawyer should know exactly who you are and what you are looking for. After your initial consultation, are you happy with the potential lawyer? If not, you need to know that you have no obligation to initiate a relationship.
This can be a highly emotional and costly time in your life. Make sure that you have the best lawyer that fits your needs. Prior to your consultation, ensure you are prepared and have copies of all of your relevant income and property documents. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Hearty Law serves Toronto, Ottawa and surrounding communities.