Marc J. Coderre – Orleans family lawyer
Court costs is a financial penalty imposed by a Judge or a Master against the party who was not successful during a hearing in a matrimonial case at any point in time. The cost consequences may be imposed at various steps such as: a case conference, a Motion, a Trial etc.
Rule 24 of the Family Law Rules deals with costs. In short, the guiding principle is:
There is a presumption that a successful party is entitled to the costs of a motion or case.
Not long ago, it seems that Judges were reluctant to penalize family litigants with costs. However, recent judicial appointments have seen experienced family law lawyers appointed to the bench. Those Judges understand the complexities relating to family law and also understand that parties and their lawyer need to be mindful of Rule 2 which states:
The primary objective of the Family Law Rules is to enable the court to deal with cases justly. This means, to ensure that the procedure is fair to all parties, to save expenses and time, to deal with a case in ways that are appropriate to their importance and their complexity and to give appropriate court resources to a case while taking account of the need to give resources to other cases.
The court no longer hesitates to properly compensate a successful party particularly if the other party has been unreasonable. For example, parties may argue a Motion (a step before trial) to determine support issues. It is no longer unusual to have courts impose cost orders of more than $5000 on the unsuccessful party.
Marc J Coderre (Orleans base family and divorce lawyer) has 29 years of experience in family law and court work. In my view, the Judges have, in the past 6 years or so, been properly and rigorously applying Rule 24 with the result that cost awards are now in line with what is seen in civil litigation.
In other words, the successful party on a Motion or at Trial should receive compensation.
The client needs to understand that costs are not necessarily equal to your full lawyer bill. It is a form of compensation and there are many factors that are considered by a judicial officer in awarding costs.
In summary, the spouses, should approach the dissolution of a marriage or of a relationship by following the law and rules and exploring all settlement options before taking a step which will require judicial determination.
This is not to say that a person should not litigate. To the contrary, issuing a divorce application or a court application will ensure case management and supervision and focus the parties on the settlement of their issues.
Marc J Coderre, family lawyer, has the experience to guide parties in difficult times. The focus is always the resolution of family issues.
Call Marc J Coderre, family lawyer, based in Orleans and Beacon Hill for advice and guidance (613-824-1542).