Everyone going through a separation from their spouse should obtain the advice of a family law lawyer as to their rights and obligations. Family law is one of the more complicated areas of law. There are rules and there are exceptions to the rules. For example, there are property division rules for married couples who separate. At the same time, there are exceptions and deductions to that rule. It is not always an even split of assets.
Often whether or not an individual retains a lawyer may be a matter of economics. There are clearly some cases where retaining a lawyer beyond some initial advice may not be economical. Once such situation is where an individual is seeking to obtain the return of an overpayment of support or reduce support arrears. If the amount in question possibly exceeds the amount of legal fees, that individual may well consider advancing the claim themselves.
Representing oneself has never been easier. Unlike in the past, there are currently volumes of information available on the internet. Various government websites have the applicable court forms available online as well as information on court proceedings and more. Many law firms have blogs on their websites discussing various points of law as it relates to family law. Moreover, many law firms are now offering limited scope retainers. A limited scope retainer is where an individual pays the lawyer to assist with part of the case. As another example, an individual may find completing the court forms to be overwhelming and may request the lawyer to complete the forms and attend to service and filing with the court. The individual can then speak to the matter at the set court date. Often, no one knows the case better than the individual involved in the case. Having an individual attend court without a lawyer is not unusual for any family court Judge.
There are cases where a lawyer is needed. Some cases are very complicated and have many issues to be resolved. Such cases may include issues such as children’s residence, who makes the decisions concerning the children’s wellbeing, child support, spousal support, property division and pension split etc. In such matters, individuals may retain a lawyer to represent them throughout.
Another benefit of retaining a lawyer is to relieve the individual of much of the stress involved in dealing with their former partner. Sometimes the stress to an individual of going through a separation and having to deal with their former partner can be overwhelming to the point of being debilitate. While the individual will still be required to gather documents and provides information, having a good lawyer involved can substantially reduce the stress involved. I’ve had many clients say to me “it’s your problem now”, a task a good family law lawyer is equipped to handle.