What is family law litigation?
Litigation means to take legal action. This involves starting a court proceeding, filing various legal documents, and eventually having the issue heard by a Judge in court (sometimes many times). Under the Family Law Act in BC, the goal is to resolve as many family law matters as possible without litigation, for example through family law mediation or collaborative family law. However, there are times for various reasons that issues between ex-partners cannot be resolved without litigation.
When is family law litigation recommended?
At Suleman Family Law, we always want to explore other avenues before pursuing litigation. Litigation is generally costly, adversarial and time-consuming. It can have a long-lasting negative impact on your family, in particular on children. However, for some family law matters litigation is not only required, it may be essential to preserving your legal rights and entitlements and to securing safety for you and/or your children. The following are some situations in which litigation may be recommended or required:
- There is a history of family violence between the partners and/or children (violence against women and children).
- There are children in the relationship that are at immediate risk due to lack of finances or appropriate parenting arrangements.
- There is an extreme power imbalance between the parties.
- There is a high level of conflict between the parties.
- You have tried to resolve your differences using negotiation, settlement and/or mediated approaches but there are many outstanding issues, or one of the parties simply refuses to participate in such settlement-oriented approaches.
- Your ex-partner is unwilling to disclose financial information to you, such as their business holdings, income, property, or savings accounts.
- Your ex-partner is incurring debt on your behalf or is at risk for claiming bankruptcy.
- Your ex-partner is disposing of or transferring title to family property.
It is important to know that even though a legal action is commenced in court, resolution of matters can occur prior to a family law trial. Less than 5% of all family law court cases proceed to trial.
Suleman Family Law strives to be settlement-oriented.
How can Suleman Family Law help you with your family law litigation?
Going through the court system can be stressful and overwhelming. Our experienced family law lawyer Zara Suleman can help you navigate that system, including preparing court documents and representing you in court. Zara Suleman has represented clients in BC Provincial Court and BC Supreme Court and has appeared before the BC Court of Appeal. Zara has also been involved in preparing materials for applications to the Supreme Court of Canada. Please visit our Getting Started page to learn about the first steps for any of our new clients. Here’s what you need to know specifically about the litigation process:
- Litigation takes time and energy. It is often not a quick or easy process.
- Litigation is expensive. Going to trial can cost a party thousands of dollars in legal fees.
- Litigation is unpredictable. Even with the best legal arguments, evidence and facts, sometimes the decision you are hoping for does not occur.
- Litigation takes a toll – personal, emotional, physical, etc.
- If you have children, the litigation process can be additionally challenging as you and your ex-partner co-parent while also engaging the inherently adversarial system.
- Sometimes litigation is necessary to resolve your family law matter.
- Commencing a family law action can sometimes provide a useful litigation time frame and encourage negotiations and settlement in order to avoid costly legal fees for a trial.
- You can still be settlement-oriented while you litigate a matter through court.
Our Litigation Style: Lions, tigers…
Sometimes people will call looking for a lawyer to litigate their matter and they will say, “I need a lawyer that is like a lion, tiger, etc.” The intention is likely to find a lawyer that is overly aggressive or perceived to be fierce on some level.
If you are seeking such a lawyer to litigate your matter then Suleman Family Law is likely not your firm.
Zara believes in a litigation practice that is respectful and principled. She believes in using the Law and the facts of your case (evidence) to strongly and fully defend your legal rights and to seek justice for any inequities or unfairness that may have resulted in your family law matter. If your matter can successfully settle in your favor during the litigation process then Zara will work towards achieving that settlement for you. If it cannot, Zara will, as your legal counsel, guide you through the litigation process – keeping you informed, seeking your instructions and advancing your legal arguments before the court.
Please contact Suleman Family Law for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Please visit our Resources and Publications page for additional resources and publications.