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Many of our family law clients come into our office believing that court is the only option when they are separating. In fact, many options are available to clients, including negotiating a separation agreement, mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law. We advise using court as a last resort when the parties cannot work out an agreement using less intrusive systems, knowing that the courts are available when clients require a firm decision from a judge. While we have the skill set and resources necessary to go to court, you do have other options.

Why Avoid Court?

It is a big mistake to think that going to court is the only option. In fact, it should likely always be the last resort because it is time-consuming, expensive, cumbersome and emotionally painful. A big part of the family law lawyer's job is to help the client make choices. Once the client understands the options available for finalizing the issues that must be dealt with, he or she will take part in making those choices.

What Are the Other Options?

In some cases, it is possible simply by correspondence to work out all the issues and reduce them to writing in a separation agreement.

Many cases lend themselves to a faster route to resolution by involving a mediator or by using the collaborative process. The direct involvement of the client in these processes allows for direct questioning and informed, speedy answers. And it allows both clients to speak with each other in the context of a professional meeting that focuses on true disclosure, full discussion of options and picking a resolution that is fair to everyone.

Many clients appreciate not having to start the process by issuing an application but rather seeking the agreement of the other side to discuss matters in a professional, controlled way—always knowing that the court is there, if absolutely necessary. It makes sense. Nobody knows “the other side” better than the client, who has lived with the spouse for years. The client definitely should be involved in the decision-making about what approach we take toward getting resolution, because he or she knows what the spouse will tolerate and what the spouse will not tolerate. The client will know best whether the case is one that needs the firm hand of a judge to get finality.

Reduce the Stress of Separation

If both sides of a dispute remain amicable, the mediation or the collaborative process can be an efficient resolution. Our lawyers always strive to keep the process as amicable as possible to keep emotions and tension low. However, you will need a capable and strong advocate, regardless of which process you choose. Our lawyers will guide you through the process, from the document-drafting stage through negotiation to resolution. Your first session will revolve around the choices available to you.

Contact HMH Law Offices for Your Family Law Issues

Divorce Lawyers

There are times when other approaches are needed. At HMH Law Offices, we understand that few things are as personal as divorce and related family issues. We have more than 4 decades of experience representing men and women in Barrie and the surrounding areas of Ontario. Our lawyer, Susanne Hayward, takes the time to understand the needs of our clients—we are great listeners with the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve positive outcomes for our clients.

Ontario Separation Agreements

We are not bound to one way of achieving binding results in divorce and family law cases. Whether both parties can agree, decide to seek mediation, or where litigation becomes necessary, we work with our clients to achieve divorce and separation agreements that meet their unique needs and reflect the reality of their situations.

We handle a wide variety of divorce and separation issues, such as:

  • Equalization of Net Family Property
  • Common Law Cohabitation Rights
  • Parenting Agreements
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Child & Spousal Support

Common-Law Couples

Due to recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada, common-law couples are now treated similarly to married couples in disputes involving property rights. As a result, it is important to work with a lawyer to make sure your rights are protected during the dissolution of a relationship, just as one would during a divorce. To arrange a consultation with Susanne, call us or contact our firm online.

For more detailed information on divorce and separation from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, visit this website.

Child Custody Law

When a married couple gets a divorce or a common-law couple goes their separate ways, it leaves parents in a difficult position as they seek to begin their new lives while striving to remain connected to their children. Decisions made early on regarding child custody and access can have a profound effect on parents and children for many years.

Ontario Custody Modification Law

At HMH Law Offices, we understand the challenges facing parents and have been representing mothers and fathers in family law cases for more than 40 years. Our lawyer, Susanne Hayward, provides skilled representation and personalized service, keeping our focus on preserving the best interests of parents and children.

We take a practical approach to the difficult issues involved in child custody cases, listening to the needs and desires of our clients in order to pursue the best possible outcome for them. We have considerable experience with alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and collaborative law, while possessing the skills and resources necessary to achieve results through litigation.

Contact Us Regarding Child Custody

We understand that there is no single remedy that will solve everyone's problems, so we look forward to listening to your concerns and explaining your rights. To arrange a consultation with Susanne regarding child custody, call or email us today.

For more detailed information on child custody and access from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, visit this website.

Child Support Law

Divorce and separation are difficult not only for parents; but also children are often profoundly affected by events during this time. It is important to make sure that children are provided for during and after divorce through child support.

Ontario Support and Modification Law

HMH Law Offices has knowledgeably represented Ontarians in child support matters. Susanne Hayward knows that the same approach will not resolve all types of child support and family law issues, so we listen to the needs of our clients and tailor our representation to their needs.

Child Support Guidelines in Ontario

Child support is determined primarily based upon the income of the parent who is obligated to pay, as well as the number of children the individual is supporting. However, there can be deviations from the normal circumstances as a result of such factors as unique custody arrangements, the amount of parent access and the special needs of a child.


When there is a significant change in the needs of the child, the custody arrangement or the financial circumstances of a parent, it is possible to modify child support agreements. We have experience with these matters and can help you seek modifications to bring your child support obligations in line with your current situation.

Contact Us Regarding Child Support

In order to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding child support, it is important to speak to a lawyer. To arrange a consultation with Susanne, call us or contact our firm online.

For more information on child support from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, visit this website.

Premarital Agreements

When a couple decides to get married, it is a time for joy and celebration. However, it is still important to realize that it is also a legal commitment that can have ramifications on your rights and finances for the rest of your life. For this reason, many couples seek premarital agreements to protect their rights and obtain peace of mind.

Ontario Marriage Contracts Law

At HMH Law Offices, our experienced lawyer, Susanne Hayward, is expert at drafting marriage contracts, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We understand that not every situation calls for the same approach, so we listen closely to the needs of our clients and seek solutions that are in their best interests.

A number of conditions can be stipulated and specified in a marriage contract, including:

  • How property will be divided in the event the marriage ends in divorce.
  • How much, if any, spousal support will be paid and by whom.
  • Who will own specific assets and property should the marriage end.
  • What property each party is bringing into the marriage.

One crucial aspect of many divorces that cannot be stipulated in a marriage contract is what will happen in regard to child custody, access and support in the event of a divorce.

Common-Law Couples

As the laws involving common-law couples continue to evolve, so does our practice. Due to recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada, property disputes among common-law couples are handled very similarly to divorce proceedings involving married couples. We are available to work with common-law couples to draft contracts for protection of property and assets.

Divorce and Bankruptcy

There are wide-ranging implications when a separating spouse is going through the bankruptcy process. The timing of a bankruptcy filing in relation to family law litigation can significantly alter a spouse's potential to recover matrimonial property and spousal and child support in Ontario. Whether a bankruptcy becomes necessary due to credit card debt or other factors, we can help you understand all of your rights and responsibilities, as well as the ramifications of your choices going forward.

We Help with All Aspects of Divorce

Divorce alone is a very complex area of the law that has many legal and personal ramifications for all parties involved. When debt problems and a potential bankruptcy become intertwined with a divorce, it is crucial to understand your rights and have an experienced lawyer pursuing your best interests.

Tailoring Our Approach to Your Needs

At HMH Law Offices, we understand that there is no single remedy for dealing with these difficult issues and we will strive to create a solution that addresses your unique situation.

Book a Consultation

To arrange a consultation with Susanne, call us or contact our firm online.