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Where can I find a lawyer to help with my family law issue?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
You don't have to hire a lawyer to help you with your family law issues. But, a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities.
Responsibilities are what the law says you have to do after you separate or divorce and rights are what the law says you can get.
A lawyer has special training that allows them to give legal advice. Legal advice means that a lawyer can explain what the law says and how it applies to your specific legal problem. They can also:
- Give you advice on things like the rules you must follow to make your separation agreement legal.
- Explain the different ways you can resolve your issues.
- Represent you in court.
Sometimes a lawyer is also called an attorney, barrister, or solicitor.
A paralegal is another type of legal professional, but they can't do everything a lawyer can do. For example, a paralegal can help prepare court paperwork, but they can't give you legal advice about family law or represent you in family court.
A paralegal can work for a lawyer and be supervised by them. Or, they can work for themselves.
After you separate, you and your partner should never have the same lawyer. This is because you and your partner have different rights and responsibilities and your lawyer should be working in your interests only.
In Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada regulates lawyers and paralegals. This means that they:
- have rules about who can become a lawyer or paralegal, and
- deal with complaints against lawyers or paralegals.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, you can still speak with one for general advice. Some lawyers also provide "unbundled" or "limited scope" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to find legal help in other places.