Currently, up to 80% of separating couples appear in court unrepresented, finding the court process too adversarial, expensive, complicated and lengthy.
We recognize the need for a more holistic, supportive, affordable process than the current adversarial legal system. Former Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin’s Access to Justice Report, 2013, echoed this sentiment. She recommended a system of triaging people to the services they want and need.
Several years ago, Chris Bentley, Managing Director of Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ), with Dr. Barbara Landau, Cooperative Solutions, decided to seek ideas from several hundred diverse family professionals and family law litigants. The advice was that a cost-effective approach to better educate clients using online resources to help them navigate a separation
pathway, was needed.
The result was that a multi-disciplinary team created a free online Family Law Portal, including 25 Clicks, through the LIZ that helped to educate clients and gather relevant information, saving time and money before approaching a professional. The next step was creating a plan, based on the clients’ priorities and readiness, to guide clients to community resources and assistance.
And so, the idea of creating Community Hubs was born! We came together as a team of multi-disciplinary professionals from several Ontario locations to make the idea a reality.
Our priority was early identification of those with safety concerns and those who would benefit from community-based services. Such services might include counselling, parenting education, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options, including financial and legal expertise. The key purpose was to assist clients to create a Separation Plan based on their priorities.
In mid-2021, Community Hubs for Separating Families was created and registered as a Not-For-Profit Corporation. Our teams include lawyers, mediators, domestic violence specialists, mental health professionals, and financial expertise.