Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Judge?
Hope today finds you well. Over the past 15 years of having the pleasure of assisting people such as yourself in finding their way along the convoluted paths in the dark forest that is Family Law, I have ran across quite a few repeated misconceptions. These urban myths have spread through from home to home, friend to friend and grew stronger and more true-feeling with every whisper. One of the biggest myths I have come across is that going to court is frightening, expensive and a terrible place to be avoided like the plague at any cost as the depths of hell. This notion usually manifests itself with the client glaring at me in sheer horror and despair as soon as I utter the words
“lets start court proceedings to deal with this”.
And I say to that: why? dear people why?! How could a place that has free Wi-Fi and a coffee shop be all that bad?! But seriously…..people, you need to stop thinking this way because it is simply not true! Let's start from the notion that if you define any place or person as horrifying or scary, well…that is exactly what you will experience because that is how our minds work. So lets clean the slate. When it comes to Family Law (whether dealing with Child Custody, Access Child Support, Spousal Support or Division Of Property), there are really only two routes to resolve your issues when push comes to shove: you either work it out yourselves (fancifully called “negotiate”) or, have a Judge help you in resolving the issues (fancifully called “litigate”). Did you notice that I used the words help you when I wrote about the Judge? That was no coincidence. The truth is that not every case is suitable for negotiation. And many people are going to benefit far more from going to court.
Let's talk first about the main difference between Going to Court and Negotiating Outside of Court.
What you need to know is that there are really no rules when negotiating outside of court. There are no specific procedures to follow, no rules that one must stick to. Sounds good? Well, it sure could be…but all this could come at a price if the person you are trying to negotiate with is not going to “play ball”. If the other side will not cooperate, behave unreasonably or drag their heels, how can this be good for you trying to move on with your legal issues? I have seen very simple matters dragged on for months and months unnecessarily, costing people a fortune on endless correspondences back and forth bringing nothing but frustration and feelings of despair for everyone involved. That can be good for anyone right? One of the great benefits to going through court through court is that Court is a very structured system. Heel-draggers and people who insist on behaving unreasonably are going to have a much harder time being so when going through court. The Ontario Judges I have worked with can see through most of the worst type of delay tactics and sorry for the word…B.S. And the good news is that going through court does not preclude you from negotiating a settlement at any time during the proceedings. I truly hope that this blog has made you see things a little bit differently.
My Insiders Tip: Come in for an in depth individualized consultation.
Based on my vast experience I will advise you know whether you will be better off Negotiating or going through Court. Think about it, use your gut feeling… and we will do our best to help you.