Overview

Ontario provides a variety of family justice services to Ontario families facing separation or divorce.

If you are separated or are thinking of separating, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer about your situation. A lawyer can give you specific information about the law and tell you how it might affect you.

Family mediation services

Help resolving issues relating to parenting, separation or divorce

Free family mediation services are available in all Ontario family courts. These services are available at the courthouse on the day you are scheduled to be in court and can help resolve issues relating to:

  • parenting time or decision-making responsibility in respect of children
  • child and/or spousal support
  • property division

Low cost off-site family mediation services are also available. User fees for off-site mediation are charged to clients on a sliding scale based on their income and number of dependents. View the Off-Site Family Mediation User Fee Schedule for more information.

Find contact information for ministry-offered mediation services in your area.

Private mediators also offer family mediation services in your community.

Mandatory information program

Information sessions about the legal process of separation or divorce

These programs are available at family court locations, or online through family mediation and information service providers.

This program provides information about:

  • the family court process
  • the effects of separation and divorce on adults and children
  • alternatives to litigation
  • local resources and programs for families

Regardless of who started the family court case, you and the other spouse or parent must attend the mandatory information program as the first step in the case, unless:

  • both parents or spouses agree to the order being requested
  • the only claims made are for divorce, costs, or an order incorporating the terms in an agreement or prior court order
  • you have already attended a mandatory information program

If you are not involved in a family court case but would like to attend a mandatory information program, contact the family mediation and information service provider in your area.

Family Law Information Centres

Family Law Information Centres (known as FLIC) are in family courts across Ontario. Here you can get information about:

  • separation and divorce
  • family law issues
  • family justice services
  • alternative forms of dispute resolution
  • local community resources
  • court processes

Information and Referral Coordinators are available at these centres at designated times to help with:

  • information about community and court connected services (including mediation)
  • the court process or forms for rescheduling their Mandatory Information Program
  • understanding the court process
  • referrals to appropriate services
  • provide information about family mediation
  • other ways to resolve your issues without going to court

Supervised Access Centres

The Supervised Access Program provides a place where parenting visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.

Supervised Access Centres provide both on-site and virtual services.

Family court support worker program

Provides support for victims of domestic violence involved in the family court process

Family Court Support Workers can be found in communities across the province. They can:

  • 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

If you have questions about the program, or need help finding a service provider, call the 24/7 Victim Support Line:

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer

Prepares reports and represents children in court

A court can request the involvement of the Children’s Lawyer in cases concerning parenting time and decision-making responsibility disputes or child protection matters.

If the Office of the Children’s Lawyer accepts a case, they may:

  • provide a lawyer to represent a child
  • provide a lawyer assisted by a clinician
  • prepare a report by a clinician
Updated: August 12, 2021
Published: March 22, 2021