What happens if my spouse starts a court proceeding immediately after we separate without negotiating the matter? Did I lose my chance of negotiating the matter?
No. Even if your spouse may have “jumped the gun” and commenced a court proceeding without making any effort to negotiate with you, this does not preclude you from negotiating and settling with him or her in the future.
Filing the documents to formally start a court proceeding is only the first of many steps involved in having your matter resolved by a judge. You can still settle some or all of your issues with your spouse long before the matter ever gets to trial or other hearing. In fact, some of the rules and procedures that are part of the Canadian family justice system are specifically designed to encourage former spouses and other litigants to settle their legal matters if at all possible, and at virtually any stage.