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  • Writer's picturePatersons LLP

Maximizing Your Family Law Consultation

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Is your appointment related to a separation, divorce, custody or child support case?

Some cases involving separations, custody or support end up in court rather quickly whether you want them to or not.

There is a new family court model in effect in Manitoba with the biggest change to the court system being the speed with which it operates. Ideally, Judges want a case finalized within a year from separation which means there may be timelines that we have to meet relatively quickly.

If you anticipate that your situation may involve a matter going to court, either initiated by you or your former partner, you may want to start gathering some necessary information. The information required would be your three most recent income tax returns and three paycheck stubs, as will a listing of each spouse’s assets and debts. For bank accounts, investments and pensions, we need a statement from the bank, the investment company or the pension administrator showing the balance at the date of separation. We also need statements confirming the balance of debts at the date of separation.

If you are self-employed or a shareholder of a corporation, we would need your full income tax returns (including the schedules), as will the most recent financial statements for the business.

If you would like to start filling out a Family Intake Package, including a Financial Statement that must be completed and filed with the court, please email us at

To be clear, you do not need to fill out the form or bring any of this information to your consultation if you do not have the information or feel it is necessary. We can discuss everything further at your appointment.

Are you wanting a Separation Agreement?

You don’t need a Separation Agreement to be legally separated. The Agreement is a legal contract between spouses. It sets out the terms of settlement such as custody, support, division of assets and debts, the marital home and jointly-owned assets and debts, pensions etc. Full financial disclosure must be provided to the other spouse, and each spouse should have independent legal advice before signing.

Are you interested in mediation or information about custody, visitation and parenting plans? Or will your court case involve custody or visitation?

Family Conciliation offers an educational program called For the Sake of the Children. It has valuable information about parenting after separation. The program is free of charge. For any custody or visitation cases going to court, it is mandatory that both spouses complete the course.

Family Conciliation also offers free mediation for parents wanting to work out a parenting agreement. It is free of charge, but there is often a wait list.

Information about the program can be found on the Family Conciliation website at

Is your appointment related to a variation of a current court order?

Please be sure you bring a copy of the current court order.

Is your appointment related to an adoption?

Please be sure you bring the child’s original birth certificate and contact information for the biological parent(s).

Are you wondering if a court case has been started against you?

The Court of Queen’s Bench Registry showing the current court files can be searched at:


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