Jane Sims, QMI Agency
The goal, said Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley, is a more streamlined and less confrontational court process - something the public has been clamouring for.
"It's all about giving people alternatives to the big court fight," he said, and trying to make the emotionally wrenching process for divorcing families go faster and more affordable.
Bentley has called the changes the "four pillars of family law reform" that aim directly at the costs attached to the adversarial system and demystifying what can be a complex court experience.
"It can be baffling and when you're under emotional stress, when you don't know when you're going to have money, when there might have been domestic violence involved, when your children's future is at stake - I can only begin to imagine the complications," he said.
Starting Monday, anyone entering the family law system will be required to participate in information sessions outlining court processes and the community resources available.
Questions can be answered about costs for trials, the affect of court process on children and alternatives to trials.
Bentley said similar sessions have been offered for years in Toronto and "95% found them very helpful."
The second component is giving couples access to mediation at courthouses for free and off-site at prices geared to income.
The idea is to resolve some or all issues before the case ever reaches a courtroom.
Bentley said the third pillar of the plan is to have "information referral co-ordinators" - or family court traffic cops - in courthouses who can direct people to where they need to be in the family courts.
While the first three plans have come together, Bentley admits the fourth point of the reforms still needs work - making adversarial court fights as painless as possible.
But there have been gains, particularly in accessing court forms online through the Ontario Court Forms Assistant (formsassistant.ontariocourtforms.on.ca) for both family cases and small claims court.
The forms walk people through the process and the website has had 54,000 hits.
The hope, Bentley said, is a goal to "take the mystery out of the law and make the law work for people in the way they need it to work for them."
Some of the ideas are in place in some areas, including London, Ont., and Middlesex, Ont., one of 17 unified family court sites where Superior Court justices handle family cases.
London already has mediation available and information services that weren't mandatory.
In the 33 sites where there is no family court, most areas don't have family court duty counsel - something that will change with these reforms.
Bentley said the reforms signal "the tip of the iceberg" of what the courts can do online and in person to help people when they are emotional and vulnerable.
"(It's a) significant change in the Ontario approach to family case but it is the start and there is lots more work to do."
The ideas came from lawyers, judges, the ministry and the public, he said, with leading London family lawyer Alf Mamo playing a large role in creating the vision.
Mamo said the reforms are "really part of a shift of attitude from the court being a place where you go to fight and say bad things about each other to the court having the opportunity to recognize that you may have differences of opinion."
Information and mediation can "come up with a solution that is much quicker much less expensive and, in the end, much less acrimonious."
Too often couples square off with their lawyers and throw money into litigation with no payoff in the end.
And certainly, when it comes to parenting issues, the reforms make sense, he said, to make the system simpler, less expensive and less adversarial."
What Bentley claims is pure propaganda. First, when parties actually agree to
"a divorce", separate from the substantive issues, the courts refuse to allow to
happen, "Until the other issues are resolved", that's right, illegal blackmail
by the courts to prevent the issue of divorce certificates even on consent.
The information sessions are pure fiction about theoretical courts that don't exist. The reality is the courts are a War on Men, and a war on self represented litigants who don't or can't pay a lawyer. Judges routinely totally ignore self represented litigants while allowing a lawyer representing generally a woman to talk 95% of the time and make highly prejudicial orders designed to throw him out of court and that's just at the first case conference.
The Family Courts main function is to pay the legal profession then transfer wealth from men to women with a mantra of placing the kids with the mother regardless of the evidence, and ending children's relationships with a father by any means possible.
The underbelly of the judiciary do this by ensuring TRIALS rarely ever take place!
The judicial knuckle buster is what is called "a motion for summary judgement" get rid of him for ever with a host of orders designed to put dad in jail to prevent his kids seeing him and from ever attempting to litigate again.
That promotes lawlessness, it brings the administration not just into ill--repute but makes them professional obstructors of justice and professional child abusers of the worst order.
The worst criminals are not in jail, they sit as judges of the Ontario Family Court leaving endless trails of corrupt destruction. And, who is the most corrupt in Ottawa? The dishonourable Justice Allan Sheffield is known to take phone orders for motions to "end litigation".
just google Allan Sheffield and ottawamenscentre dot com
If you need a fast decision, just ask your lawyer to put that call through to Justice Allan Sheffield who will really make a simple divorce by throwing out any of the evidence and fabricating his own reasons that even leave court staff and lawyers gasping at his audacity.
Child support has what is called " a spousal support component", that's
right, and Ontario does not factor the incomes of both parties. That means rich
mother's get spousal support from poor fathers who even have to pay for full
time nannies while mother just snubs her nose at any orders that might have been
obtained for access.
The proof is that Ontario has virtually NO mothers paying spousal support to fathers.
When judges see that it might happen, they take children away from fathers and give them to mothers just to make sure that such an order never happens, all by dead beat judges who think because women give birth that they deserve custody.
Its enough to make you want to puke.