Family Law Court Costs

As a family lawyer or divorce lawyer, it is important to be mindful when conducting your client’s case to ensure that you obtain maximum court costs for your successful client.

In O’Brien v. Chuluunbaatar, 2019 ONCJ 882 (CanLII), a mobility case that I successfully represented the mother, the judge reviewed the factors that must be considered in determining which litigant in a family law proceeding should be awarded costs, and in what amount.

Cost orders are governed by rule 24 of the Family Law Rules , which states that there is a presumption that the successful party is entitled to costs. The Family Law Rules also sets out the factors that must be considered when fixing the amount of a costs order.  It should be noted thought judges have a discretion as to whether to order cost or not. Do not assume that Reimbursement to the successful party is not the sole purpose, and in some cases not even the primary purpose, of a costs award. The court stated:

Courts are now employing costs orders as a tool to further the efficient and orderly administration of justice. As the court in this case explained, determining the amount of costs is not simply a mechanical exercise. While a successful litigant is still presumed to be entitled to costs, other factors, such as the reasonableness of the parties’ behaviour, weighs heavily in determining the final award. As a result, it is important to keep these factors in mind when involved in a family law proceeding.

If you have questions about your separation or divorce, contact your family lawyer in Toronto, Jane Mukongolo