Amicable Divorce? You Can Separate or Divorce without Court Using Collaborative Law in Ontario

Most people set out to have an amicable divorce. Why then is it so painful when they separate or divorce?

A family law file is generally made up by 5% of the law and the facts of your case, and about 95% by the personalities of the people involved when you separate or divorce – namely, the two spouses and their lawyers.

How do you have an amicable divorce when 95% of the file will be influenced by the personalities of the people involved?

Let’s start with the lawyers. When you separate or divorce, you have a choice of who your lawyer will be. Why not choose a collaborative divorce lawyer? Collaborative law lawyers have specialized training in negotiation and may be better equipped to help your family achieve an amicable divorce. Collaborative law in Ontario is well established and it is easy to find trained collaborative law lawyers. That will help you to achieve a divorce without going to court. If you can divorce without going to court, not only will you save money but you will also avoid the typical acrimony and pain.

Now let’s look at your role in achieving an amicable divorce. You have to commit to achieving a divorce without court. A commitment to a divorce without court means:

– choosing to end your separation with a marriage separation agreement rather than a Court imposed order (a marriage separation agreement is a document that contains the agreements you and your partners negotiated. More information on this below.);

– treat your separation or divorce as a business. If emotions get too much in the space, you may not be able to achieve a divorce without court;

– Instruct your lawyer consistently with your commitment to getting a divorce without going to court. A lawyer who practices collaborative law in Ontario will be able to guide you.

You can also have an impact on your spouse’s behaviour during the separation process by:

– getting a commitment from your spouse to a divorce without going to court;

– encouraging your spouse to retain a collaborative law lawyer. You can either have your collaborative law lawyer suggest names of collaborative law lawyers, or suggest your spouse select a collaborative law lawyer from:;

– remaining true to your commitment to getting a divorce without court will go a long way to helping your family get through this in the most appropriate manner possible (even if your spouse misbehaves).

Your out-of-court negotiations can take place in mediation, in collaborative divorce, or in a non-collaborative divorce (referred to as traditional negotiation) if the lawyers are not trained to practice as collaborative divorce lawyers. At the end of the out-of-court negotiations, the lawyers will prepare a marriage separation agreement. The marriage separation agreement is a document that will contain all of the agreements made during the negotiations, such as your parenting plan, property division and support. People who end up going to court will end up not with a marriage
separation agreement but with a series of decisions made by a judge who barely knows the parties.

These tips will make a difference for you and your family during this difficult transition.

For more information please contact Nathalie Boutet.

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