If you are planning to hire a lawyer for your family law matter, you should begin working on collecting supporting information as soon as possible. Depending on your situation, you should be prepared to provide the following background information and documents:
If you have been served with court documents, or if you have been to court in the past, your lawyer will need a copy of the court documents. If you do not have a copy, your lawyer can request a copy from the courthouse but this will take time and cost money.
Contact information for the other party
You will need to provide their address, phone number and email.
Your lawyer may need to communicate with the other party to assist with your matter or to serve documents. If the other party has a lawyer, you will need to provide the other lawyers contact information.
Picture of the other party
Your may need a picture of the other party for a process server or to add to an Affidavit of Service.
Certificate of Marriage
You will need the original copy of your Certificate of Marriage to file for a divorce.
If you do not have the original copy, you can purchase a new copy from a registry office.
Parenting After Separation (“PAS”) certificate
If you have children, you will need to provide your PAS certificate before you will be able to file your court documents. The PAS course is free and can be completed online here.
If you want changes to a parenting situation, you should be prepared to provide details regarding how often and how much time the child spends with each parent. You should also be prepared to provide a schedule you think would be the best for the child.
If child support or spousal/partner support is an issue, you should be prepared to provide a list of all financial payments you have paid or received. This information will be important to determine if arrears are payable or if the payor should receive a credit for overpayment.
If you need assistance with child support, spousal/partner support or property, you should begin working on collecting your financial documents as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide the following items:
T1 Income General Tax and Benefit Returns for 2020, 2021 and 2022;
Notice of Assessments for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022;
Your most recent paystubs from all of your sources of income;
Self-employment, partnership and/or corporation information (if applicable);
Receipts for childcare, school fees, health/dental fees or any other extra-ordinary expenses;
Account statements for your bank accounts for six (6) months;
Account statements for your credit accounts for six (6) months;
Account statements for your investments for six (6) months;
Your monthly budget of expenses;
Schedule A; and,
A list of any exemptions (if applicable).
By having the above information together without being prompted, the process of working with a lawyer will be smoother and will cost you less money. You may also find it helpful to write down your questions to ask a lawyer at your next appointment. It’s a mistake to assume you will remember everything you wanted to discuss if you fail to properly prepare for your appointment.