What’s Wrong With The Courts?

Speaking as a lawyer with more than 40 years of experience, the Courts are the worst place to settle your family’s separation. This is not to blame either lawyers or judges but the system, bottom to top.

The reason is quite simple.

The breakup of a family does not fit into the legal system.

A couple at the end of a relationship are looking for a way out of a complex mess having to set up parenting arrangements, a property settlement and support. But they don’t have a legal problem, they have a practical, difficult, situation that needs to be sorted out.

Lawyers and judges are trained to look at everything as a legal problem. The civil courts came into existence to settle property disputes between rich people and not settle the aftermath of a marriage breakdown.

This results in the following:

Going to Court is extremely expensive.

Even the simplest of separations where the two spouses disagree about very little, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

High conflict divorces cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can go on for years.

The courts are slow.

Once you even issue a claim, the first time you appear before a judge will be likely in a few months for a temporary order, a year or longer to have a settlement meeting (pretrial conference) and two years or longer for a trial.

Essentially, nothing happens for long periods of time and then everything is a rush.

The legal system increases conflict.

If you go to Court, the focus is on the negative and where you and your spouse disagree, where you are apart and why they shouldn’t be trusted. Things move from bad to worse.

The Courts are inefficient.

It’s 2021. In Saskatchewan all court proceedings are paper-based. You cannot access your court file online. You cannot fill out forms online and if you go to court you will actually need to go to a court room sometime in the middle of the day Monday to Friday. (with some relaxation during COVID).

Sometimes you may need to wait around hours before your case is called and pay your lawyer the whole time.

The system is very complex, and it is difficult for both lawyers and their clients to comply with all the Rules of Court.

You don’t get a say in the final outcome.

Obviously, if you go to court a judge will make the decision for you and your spouse. The judge will do their best. However, the decision may not work out for you or for your spouse.

Everybody settles anyway.

Only one case out of a hundred goes to a trial.

People spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees only to settle the case at a pretrial conference one or two years later when that same settlement could have happened right at the outset saving money, time, heartache and stress.

Court orders are hard to enforce.

Even then, just because a judge orders your spouse to do something doesn’t mean your spouse will comply or that the fight is over.

I have had cases where the spouses went back to court 20 times or more, over 10 or more years fighting over issues about parenting and support.

There is a better way.

Frequently Asked Questions

At SettleNow.Online, we deal with separation and divorce differently. For most couples, divorce/separation is pretty simple. However, the legal system makes it complicated. Learn more about how SettleNow.Online works here.

Yes – if you want to go to court in Regina or Prince Albert you must engage in one of four early dispute resolution processes (mediation, arbitration, collaborative law or parenting coordination) before the court will allow you to bring a court application. A judge can waive this requirement in exceptional situations.

Yes – we will help you get an agreement which you can use to obtain your divorce.

Yes – whether you’re married or unmarried, our agreements can help you deal with questions arising from separation.

Our website provides you with basic information about settlement, and various aspects of divorce, how to approach divorce or separation.

Often people are not emotionally ready or are not certain as to whether divorce is for them and should consider seeing a family counsellor or other mental health professional about whether they should separate or try to stay together.

We do not provide legal advice but with legal information. Any agreement for dividing property must be reviewed and signed by a lawyer. We will help you with that process.
If you have a question we will get back to you within 24 hours on any technical issues that you may have. We use backup systems for when our technology is not working.

Yes – For any valid mediation or any valid contract, both you and your spouse will need to sign any documents either in person or electronically.

You do not need to use the same computer or be on a computer at the same time. You can access our site through any device at a time that works for you. Sometimes we will expect both of you to be electronically present at a meeting where everyone will attend through the use of online conferencing technology.

We provide basic information about the law in Saskatchewan and how it works. Specific legal questions need to be answered by a lawyer.
Unfortunately, if you’re unable to locate or get a hold of your spouse, we cannot help you. You may need to review this with a lawyer who can try to get you legal relief even when your spouse cannot be found.
No – we can put in our agreement how you will get your divorce, who will do it how you will share the cost.
We can provide you with a certificate of completion of mediation that will allow you to go to Court if you do not settle. However, if you are married you will need to go to court to obtain a divorce. This is simple if you have settled. If you are not married, you may never need to go to court.
Most often, people at the start of a divorce do not feel that they will be able to settle anything but once a proper mediation process is used, they find that they can settle everything. We can prepare a partial agreement to settle some issues and leave others to be resolved in other ways through a judge, arbitration, a parenting coordinator or through some other way. Sometimes, some issues never need to be settled.

The costs will depend on how complicated your case is.

An hourly rate will be charged plus PST and GST.

These fees do not include any out-of-pocket costs such as real estate appraisals, personal property valuations, or accountant’s advice which you will be expected to pay directly.

We will consider offering you a “Flat Fee” arrangement depending on your case.

Payment can be made by way of visa or other authorized credit cards, electronic transfer or cheque.

No, but if you have property outside of Saskatchewan different rules may apply. For some rights to exist you must have lived together more than two years.
Settle now is currently only available in Saskatchewan. We hope to expand soon.

Absolutely – and it may be the best way to go. Children are your most important concern. Your children will benefit if you and your spouse can agree.

Absolutely – we provide help gathering information, reviewing it and understanding it.

Absolutely – working together on farms and businesses is more effective because we can get the assistance of qualified financial professionals to review information.

Legal disputes over splitting a farm or business can be extremely costly and take years.

Yes – you can you SettleNow.Online, but it may be more difficult depending on where the children reside primarily. Get in touch with us to explore your options.

No. If there is a family property settlement you will require a lawyer to give you independent advice and perhaps for finalizing the transfer of assets.

Click here to learn more about whether you need a lawyer, how to find one, and more.

Choose a lawyer who has your best interests at heart. Check to see if they have training in mediation or collaborative law.  Make sure that the lawyer understands your goals and desire to settle. If they start talking about court early, question them about whether your case will ever go to trial.

Yes. If you need to discuss anything with your lawyer you should do so whenever the situation arises. They can also communicate with the mediator and review any documents that have been produced.

Your lawyer can attend any meetings you want them to at your cost.

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