The Ministry of the Attorney General implemented the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) on September 1, 2011 in Family Courts across Ontario. The MIP applies to applicants and respondents in contested family law proceedings and is compulsory for all family law litigants. This two-hour information program is a precursor to any other step in a family law matter and must be completed within 45 days from the start of the proceeding. Parties are advised of the date of the MIP at the time they file their application or responding materials. Both spouses are required to attend the program and must obtain a certificate of completion. The certificate of completion must thereafter be filed in court. There are however, exceptions for parties proceeding on a consent basis, where the only order requested is for divorce, costs or terms of an agreement. Generally, where claims are being made for anything more than a divorce, parties will be required to attend the MIP.
What is the mandate of the Mandatory Information Program?
The MIP was developed to assist family law litigants in understanding the Family Court process, the impact of separation and divorce on parents and children, alternatives to going to court as well as issues relating to custody/access, child support and equalization of property. Rule 8.1 of the Family Law Rules highlights the following content of the MIP:
(a) the options available for resolving differences, including alternatives to going to court; (b) the impact the separation of parents has on children; and (c) resources available to deal with problems arising from separation.
Legal Aid Ontario has developed an online version of the Mandatory Information Program called the Family Law Information Program (FLIP). Although FLIP is based on information that makes up the MIP, FLIP is not mandated by the Ministry. FLIP however, strives to offer separating parents online legal resources to assist parents and children in dealing with the impact of family breakdown. FLIP is user-friendly, bilingual and is available to the general public. FLIP can be completed online and at your own convenience. It can also act as a refresher of the MIP content while parties are dealing with the various stages of litigation.
The MIP is a great initiative in that it helps educate parties in dealing with the court process and weighing the pros and cons of litigation. It helps to offer some perspective in terms the gains they can expect at the end of it all and as well as the importance of early settlement.
For more information on Family Law, contact our Law Firm, Mann Law at (905) 565-5770 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The above article is not a legal opinion as every case is different and is only for general awareness. Please contact us for specific questions and legal advise.