Family Justice Services

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The Ministry of the Attorney General provides a variety of family justice services to Ontario families facing separation and/or divorce. These include:

Family Mediation Services

Family Mediation is a way of helping people resolve issues relating to parenting, separation, and/or divorce including custody of or access to children, child and/or spousal support and property division. A family mediator can help people identify the issues that need to be resolved upon separation and work out solutions.

Government funded family mediation services are available in all family courts in Ontario. These services are available on-site for cases that are in court on that day and appointments can also be made for off-site mediation services.  Click here to find the family mediation and information service provider in your area.

Family mediation services may also be available from private mediators in your community. For information about what you should consider before hiring a private family mediator, please refer to Finding and Selecting an Appropriate Mediator.

Have you participated in family mediation in connection with a family court? The Ministry has established an on-line confidential client satisfaction survey should take less than five minutes to complete. Click here to take the survey.

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Mandatory Information Programs (MIPs)

Mandatory Information Programs (MIPs) are available at family court locations across Ontario. MIPs provide attendees with information about separation/divorce and the legal process, including:

  • The effects of separation and divorce on adults and children
  • Alternatives to litigation
  • Family law issues
  • The Family Court process
  • Local resources and programs for families facing separation and/or divorce

This information is also available in an on-line format from Legal Aid Ontario's Family Law Information Program, except for information about local resources.

If either spouse/parent has started a family court case, both spouses/parents must attend the MIP as the first step in the case. There are some exceptions to this rule including:

  • Parties in cases that are proceeding on consent (where both parties agree to the order that is being requested)
  • Parties in cases in which the only claims made are for a divorce, costs, or an order incorporating the terms of an agreement or prior court order
  • Parties who have already attended a mandatory information program

If you are not involved in a family court case, you can contact the family mediation and information service provider in your area to arrange to attend a MIP.

Have you participated in family mediation in connection with a family court? The Ministry has established an on-line confidential client satisfaction survey should take less than five minutes to complete. Click here to take the survey.

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Family Law Information Centres (FLICs)

FLIC services are available in family courts across Ontario. At the FLIC you can find information about separation and divorce and related family law issues, family justice services, alternative forms of dispute resolution, local community resources and court processes.

Information and Referral Coordinators (IRCs) are available at designated times to help you understand your needs and to make referrals to appropriate services. IRCs can give you information about family mediation and other ways to solve your issues without going to court. Contact the family law office at your local courthouse.

Have you received Family Law Information Centre services in connection with a family court? The Ministry has established an on-line confidential client satisfaction survey should take less than five minutes to complete. Click here to take the survey.

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Supervised Access Services

When parents separate, access visits with children may be a challenge. The Supervised Access Program helps separated families by providing a setting where access visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.

Ministry-funded supervised access centres are available to provide fully supervised on-site visits in a group setting and supervised exchanges when access occurs off-site.

Click here for more information about the Supervised Access Program.

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Family Court Support Worker Program

Family Court Support Workers provide direct support to victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process.

A Family Court Support Worker will:

  • provide information about the family court process
  • help victims prepare for family court proceedings
  • refer victims to other specialized services and supports in the community
  • help with safety planning, such as getting to and from court safely
  • accompany the victim to court proceedings, where appropriate.

Family Court Support Workers are based in communities across the province. For a list of service providers, click here.

If you have questions about the program, or need helping finding your service provider, please call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888, or 416-314-2447 in the Greater Toronto Area.

Services Provided by the OCL

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer becomes involved in family law cases by way of a court order.  These cases may be custody and access disputes or they may be child protection matters involving a children’s aid society.

The court can request the appointment of the Children's Lawyer under the Courts of Justice Act.  This happens when there is a dispute before the court about a child’s custody or access and the court requires independent information and representation about the interests, needs and wishes of the child.  The Children’s Lawyer has the discretion to decide whether or not to accept a case.  If a case is accepted, the Children’s Lawyer may provide a legal representative (a lawyer) for the child, may prepare a report by a clinician, or may provide a lawyer assisted by a clinician.

In a child protection matter, the court may order the appointment of the Children’s Lawyer under the Child and Family Services Act.  In child protection cases, the Children’s Lawyer will provide a legal representative for the child upon receiving an order from the court.

Click here for more information about the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

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