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To Hire – Or Not To Hire – A Lawyer?

When facing a family law issue, many people debate whether or not to hire a lawyer. Just this week, we came across a post on social media stating that you should never involve a lawyer in your separation; that remaining amicable and using “common sense and maturity” is the best way to go.  

While it goes without saying that remaining amicable and mature will result in a much more positive outcome for you and your spouse, this “advice” suggests that spouses who use lawyers are “immature” or do not use common sense.  Clearly, this is not the case.  

Family law encompasses a wide array of unique personal circumstances.  For example, spouses who were never married but have a child together; people who has suffered domestic violence and abuse and need to leave a relationship; and people entering into a relationship who want to establish an agreement that sets out parameters should they separate in the future, just to name a few.  

No two families are alike, and therefore no two family law matters are alike.

Although the advice to avoid lawyers in your separation may be well-intentioned, the number of times we have heard a client say “I should have spoken with a lawyer before I agreed to….” or that they did not understand what they were getting themselves into, is astounding.  Receiving legal advice from a friend who previously went through a divorce, or by searching the internet is usually not enough.   In fact, many of our clients are those who are not recently separated, but rather those who did not “get it right” the first time, and are now seeking to change their agreement or court order.

Like all other professionals, there are the good, the bad and the ugly.  At Lloyd and Kemper LLP, we strive to be the best.  It is important that you interview your lawyer before signing a retainer agreement, and find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with.  Most people who engage the services of a family lawyer do so at a difficult time in their lives.  Although it may be tempting to go with a lawyer who tells you exactly what you want to hear, this can result in serious disappointment if results are not delivered as promised.  A good family lawyer should provide you with candid advice and options – even if it’s not something you want to hear – and leave it to you to make the decisions.  After all, it will be you, not your lawyer, who will be living with the outcome of those decisions.    This is your matter, and ultimately, the decision of how to deal with the issues is yours.  Be informed!

There are a number of options for addressing a family law matter.  Some people have the ability to negotiate their own resolutions – which is not always a matter of common sense.  Some people need a little more help and will see a mediator; a mediator does not represent either party’s position but provides a neutral environment to assist the parties in trying to negotiate a resolution.  Although mediation may work well for some

families, it is not right for everyone.  Because a mediator cannot advocate for you during the mediation, it is possible to end up with an agreement that is not necessarily in line with your legal rights, obligations and concerns. The other way is to hire lawyers to try to negotiate a resolution on your behalf which can include a process called Collaborative Family Law.  And, of course, there is court litigation.  Although court litigation may be necessary where there are urgent/emergency circumstances, such as domestic violence and abuse, it tends to take the control out of the parties hands, and often results in least satisfaction with the outcome.  The importance of which process you choose (or are forced into) cannot be understated.  The process chosen will dictate the outcome of your matter. 

Regardless of what process you choose, it is important to know your rights and obligations so that you can make informed decisions.   Although not everyone decides to hire a lawyer, we encourage everyone to consult with a lawyer at the very least.

At Lloyd and Kemper Family Lawyers, we practice exclusively in the area of family law, including matters related to parenting and custody of children, child support, spousal support, division of property, marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements, separation agreements, divorce, Family Responsibility Office matters, and enforcement of orders.  If you wish to discuss your options, legal rights, and obligations or have questions specific to your situation, please contact our office at 905-493-6788 or info@lkfamilylawyers.com.

For more information, visit our website, at www.lkfamilylawyers.com.  

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