Represent Yourself Better in Family Law with Legal Coaching
It is no secret that the family law legal system is too expensive for many people who cannot qualify for Legal Aid. The cost of legal services has been driving many people to represent themselves in family court in increasing numbers. Legal coaching can provide a more affordable alternative for those who wish to represent themselves in court or fail to qualify for Legal Aid.
In some Canadian jurisdictions, 60 - 70% of all family law cases have at least one-self represented party1. Many times, people end up representing themselves because they do not have the money to pay a big retainer to a family lawyer but they also do not meet the low-income requirements to qualify for Legal Aid. When a typical two-day trial costs over $30,0002 many middle-class Canadians simply do not have the income or savings to pay for a family lawyer.
The lack of access to affordable legal services puts strain on the family courts as many self-represented people lack knowledge of the processes, forms and legal precedents needed in their case. As a result, judges often adjourn cases due to incorrectly filed materials, incomplete disclosure, and the failure to provide proper evidence. This increases the number of court appearances and creates long delays before a judge makes a final decision.
Also, these problems often lead to poor results in family court which can lead to a feeling of injustice. There is a sense of unfairness when one person can afford a family lawyer or qualifies for Legal Aid while the other must self-represent.
Legal coaching can be a more affordable alternative when hiring a family lawyer. Rather than hiring a family lawyer go to family court, you can represent yourself while a family lawyer works for you in the background. This can include drafting your legal documents, giving you advice and helping you with your legal research.
Legal coaching is sometimes called unbundled legal services because the family lawyer does not provide all legal services; they just provide the ones you need. You decide how and when you use a family law lawyer to help you with your divorce or separation.
Under the traditional legal retainer, a divorce lawyer does all the work for you and goes to court or mediation on your behalf. With legal coaching, you represent yourself in your family law case while a family lawyer helps you behind the scenes, but only when you choose to access their help. This can be effective in reducing the amount of legal work done on your file, which reduces your costs.
For example, your case can be unbundled into separate individual parts that a lawyer can help you within the background:
- drafting or editing court documents for your separation or divorce,
- writing a letter for you to send to a family lawyer,
- drafting a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or separation agreement,
- calculating the correct amount of child support or spousal support,
- calculating the proper division of matrimonial property,
- helping you negotiate a divorce settlement,
- giving you information on how to navigate the family law system,
- giving you advice on your separation and divorce,
- researching and preparing a legal opinion,
- preparing your speaking notes for a chambers application or family law trial,
- preparing you for mediation or arbitration.
Moreover, with legal coaching, there is no need to go into an office to meet a lawyer. If you have an internet connection, you can get advice and assistance for your family law matter. Therefore, legal coaching can be a great solution for people who live in remote communities or small towns with few legal services.
If you plan to represent yourself in family court because you do not qualify for Legal Aid, legal coaching can help empower you to get the results you want at a price that is based on the services you use. Whether you need 30 minutes of legal advice or two days preparing for a family law trial, how much legal coaching you need is up to you.
We believe you deserve the freedom to choose how much legal help you need. When you use a legal coach through Crossroads Law you pay us as you go. No need for an expensive legal retainer up front! Our family lawyers can help you as you need it. Please contact us for more details or check out our legal coaching page for more information. You can also check out our blogs for useful free information on family law.
1. http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/divorce/jf-pf/srl-pnr.html and up to 74% according to the Department of Justice.
2. http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5610/The-Going-Rate.html Canadian Lawyer Magazine national survey found this to be the average cost Canada wide.