Why do I want to go to family court?

4. Talk to a lawyer

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, what the law says, and what your options are. They can also explain the court process and help you through it.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

Unbundled services can include one or more of: 

  • 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
  • Appearances: a lawyer represents you in legal situations, for example, at a court hearing, or at a
  • Coaching: a lawyer guides you through the court process, or explains how to submit evidence

Lawyers who offer unbundled services usually charge a flat fee. You may have to pay this fee before they help you. Usually you don't have to pay any other deposit or retainer.

Some lawyers have websites that say if they offer unbundled services. Others do not, but if you ask them, they may be willing to offer it to you.

You can find directories of lawyers that offer unbundled services on the The National Self-Represented Litigants Project website and Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project website.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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