Services in Ontario - Getting help in Family law

Ontario Women’s Legal Centre


Contact Information

Toll-free: 1-833-632-0838

The Center offers free legal information and legal summary advice about family law, immigration and refugee law, housing law, and criminal law in cases of sexual assault in French to Francophone women in Ontario who are experiencing family violence. There is no financial eligibility test.

You must first call or email the legal support worker who will ask you for some information to understand your legal issue. A lawyer will call you back, usually within 4-5 days. The lawyer will spend up to 4 hours to answer your questions, give you advice, and review documents and forms.

The Centre also offers what’s called limited scope retainer or unbundled services. This means you pay a lawyer to help you with part of your case.

The Advice and Settlement Counsel (ASC)


The Advice and Settlement Counsel (ASC) provides people who don’t have a lawyer with 1 hour of advice with a lawyer for $200 plus HST. The service can help you:

  • prepare for a court attendance, case conference, or motion
  • negotiate consents when both parties are present
  • give advice about potential settlements, drafting agreements, and court procedures
  • give advice on a consent you have negotiated with a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) or at mediation, court conference, or motion
  • prepare “to do” lists so that you understand what steps need to be taken next

To use the ASC, you can check their calendar to see which lawyers are available. All lawyers spend at least 50% of their practice in family law and have at least 5 years experience. You will also be required to complete a form that confirms your identity, sign a consent, pay the fee, and sign a retainer agreement that explains the service you are getting. You will be charged extra for any time over 1 hour.

Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project


The website has a directory of family law lawyers that provide unbundled services. You can search by location, name, and language.

Unbundled services can also be called limited scope services, unbundled legal services, or legal coaching. This means you pay a lawyer to help you with part of your case, for example:

  • Legal advice: meeting with a lawyer to get advice on what your legal options are
  • Preparing documents: a lawyer prepares your documents, for example, a court application or a separation agreement
  • Appearances: a lawyer represents you in legal situations, for example, at a court hearing, or at a case conference
  • Coaching: a lawyer guides you through the court process, or explains how to submit evidence

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Family summary advice


Contact Information

Phone: 416-979-1446 Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258 TTY: 711

LAO has a free summary advice line that can give you up to 20 minutes of information and general advice about your family law matter.

This includes information about:

  • your legal options and what might happen
  • separation, divorce, decision-making responsibility, parenting time, child support, or spousal support
  • the family court process and mediation

You usually have to call and give some information about your legal issue and where you live, and a lawyer will call you back.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Legal aid certificates


Contact Information

Phone: 416-979-1446 Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258 TTY: 711

If you get a legal aid certificate, this means that LAO pays a lawyer to work for you. To get a certificate you must show that you have a low income by giving information about your income, property, and savings.

And, your legal issue must be one that LAO covers. You may get a certificate for some legal issues about:

  • domestic violence
  • family law
  • criminal law
  • immigration law
  • refugee law

To apply for a legal aid certificate:

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Family Law Service Centres


Contact Information

Phone: 416 696-2992 Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258 TTY: 711

LAO funds family law service centres across the province that can help with a number of family matters. At these centres you can connect with a family lawyer who can:

  • help answer your questions
  • see if you qualify for additional services from LAO
  • prepare court documents, in some cases

You must call to make an appointment. To qualify for legal aid, you must show that you have a low income by giving information about your income, property, and savings. And, your family law issue must be one that LAO covers.

Check the list of centres to see where they are and when they are open.

Student Legal Service Organizations (SLSO)

Legal Aid Ontario funds Student Legal Aid Services Societies that operate out of Ontario’s law schools. They offer free legal help to people with a low income in certain legal areas, including minor crimes, housing, and immigration, and when dealing with some tribunals.

They can also help with some family law issues, such as child custody, access, and child support issues. And some help with other family law issues, such as property division and spousal support.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) – Family duty counsel


Contact Information

Phone: 416-979-1446 Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258 TTY: 711

Family duty counsel give free legal advice to people who don’t have a lawyer on the day of their hearing and who have a low income. Family duty counsel are paid for by LAO and are at every family law court.

They can’t represent you at a trial, but they can:

  • give legal advice and information about the court process
  • help work out an agreement
  • review and help prepare court documents
  • help in the courtroom for certain things like asking for your case to be postponed, and at child protection hearings and hearings related to child and spousal support
  • help in hearings before a trial for issues like custody, access, child protection, or support, when the issues are not complicated
  • make referrals to other sources of help, such as mediation or finding your own lawyer

Family Law Information Centres (FLIC)

FLIC’s are available in every court in Ontario that deals with family law. All have free pamphlets. Many have staff who can:

  • tell you about community and legal services
  • explain the court process
  • tell you about ways to solve legal issues without going to court

Some FLICs have advice lawyers at certain times. These are lawyers paid by Legal Aid Ontario to answer questions, give general legal advice, and review legal documents on family law issues.

Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society of Ontario has on online Law Society Referral Service that gives you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will give free legal advice for up to 30 minutes in any area of law.

If you can’t wait for a legal representative to call you back, or if you don’t have a call-back number, email Or, if you’re in crisis or in custody, call 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255, Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ontario Legal Information Centre


Contact Information

Phone: 613-842-7462 Toll-free: 1-844-343-7462

The Ontario Legal Information Centre offers a free 30-minute meeting with a lawyer to anyone in Ontario by telephone in English or French. They can provide legal information in any legal topic, and referrals to services.  You have to leave a message and a lawyer will call you back.

Law Society of Ontario – Lawyer and Paralegal Directory

The directory lists all lawyers and paralegals licensed to give legal services in Ontario. You can search by name, address or postal code, language, and area of law. You can also search for services offered in French and for unbundled services.



JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.

Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA)


Contact Information

Phone: 416-292-6912 ext 335

The ACSA Legal Assistance Centre has a virtual legal clinic that is open on Saturdays from 11 am to 1 pm for people living in Ontario. It is run by volunteer lawyers who can give a free 20-minute consultation on some immigration, family, and housing law issues.

There is no financial eligibility test to use the service. You can book an appointment online, or by phone or email.

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