It all begins with an initial consultation with one of our lawyers. In this meeting, we give you preliminary advice that will help figure out the best way to resolve the issues – whether through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
Should you wish to proceed, you will then retain the firm on a full or limited scope basis. We will require you to sign a written Retainer Agreement as well as submit a preliminary financial retainer.
Our firm conducts a review and analysis, together with you, of your case, including financial disclosure, key issues, gathering of relevant documents and other information necessary to help resolve your outstanding issues.
If necessary, we will also encourage you to engage experts to conduct such things as pension valuations, custody and access assessments, and business and income valuations.
Stoner & Company will always attempt to negotiate a resolution before proceeding with litigation or arbitration through negotiation, mediation and/or during litigation/arbitration.
Negotiation involves lawyers attempting to negotiate the settlement of any or all of the issues in a case. If the parties are able to resolve all of the issues, they will incorporate the terms of settlement into a Separation Agreement or Minutes of Settlement.
Mediation can be used if both parties agree to be part of the process. Mediators are usually senior family law lawyers, social workers, or psychologists who act as facilitators and do not make decisions about your matter but rather help you negotiate mutually agreeable resolutions for some or all of your issues. You and your spouse can meet with a mediator on your own, work with us behind the scenes, or have us attend the mediation with you.
Similar to mediation, arbitration (also know as alternative dispute resolution) requires consent from both parties. Arbitration is usually conducted by a senior family law lawyer or retired judge selected to resolve your matter.
If an out of court settlement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, an application to Court will be drafted on your behalf, or the firm will respond to your spouse’s application.
If litigation is commenced, our lawyers will prepare for and attend with you on conferences, motions, and ultimately trials, with a judge, your spouse and his or her lawyer present.
The litigation process includes:
- Drafting documents (eg: applications, answers, motion, affidavits)
- Preparation for and attendance at questioning.
- Preparation for and attendance at conferences, motions and a trial.
Throughout the litigation process, the firm will continue to attempt to negotiate a settlement for all or some of your issues.