Legal Advice Options
You can hire a lawyer to represent you from beginning to end of your case (or for any period of time in between). This is often called “full representation” and is the most common way that lawyers are hired.
Generally, your lawyer will handle all aspects of your case such as filing paper work, interviewing witnesses, communicating with the other party’s lawyer, and appearing in court. They will also give you their opinion on your case, help you develop your strategy, give you legal advice and do legal research.
BC lawyers often charge $300 per hour (or more) for full representation in a family law case. The overall cost will depend on the complexity of your case. In particular, costs will escalate the more you and your former spouse are in conflict and cannot reach agreement.
It it may be best to get a lawyer to represent you (if you can afford it) when:
You and your former spouse cannot communicate constructively
You suspect your former spouse is hiding income or assets
Your family finances are complicated
There has been, or continues to be, abuse
There is a significant power imbalance
In an effort to make legal services accessible to more people, some lawyers offer “unbundled” services or “limited scope” retainers. Legal advice services are provided “a-la-carte”, with you and the lawyer agreeing on the specific tasks that they will take on and that you take on.
Even if you and your former spouse are able to reach agreement on separation issues without a trial, it is a good idea to get legal advice before you sign a separation agreement. A lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected and that you know what you are agreeing to. Preparing or reviewing a separation agreement is one of the services that an unbundled family law lawyer can provide.
Unbundled legal services are often provided for a flat fee, with each task being completed for a set amount of money. This is helpful because it means that you will know exactly how much you are going to pay up front versus an hourly fee which depends on how long each task takes.
If you are a self-represented litigant, using unbundled services is a great way to reduce costs while still benefiting from the expertise of a family law lawyer.
LawCoachBC is a new family law service for British Columbians who are going through a separation or divorce without representation from a lawyer. It provides clients with affordable, personalized guidance as they move through the separation process.
A family law coach will work with you to:
understand your needs and answer general legal questions
connect you with suitable family law resources and services
help you move forward with confidence
LawCoachBC is $400, which is about the cost of one hour of a lawyer’s time. All clients receive 3 hours of coaching to get answers to their legal questions and help move their separation forward. In addition, LawCoachBC clients get a referral for 1 hour of free legal advice from a family law lawyer. LawCoachBC also includes access to free mediation services and a 6 month subscription to coParenter, which provides tools to help with co-parenting issues.
Learn more about LawCoachBC Services
Author: Justice Education Society – The Justice Education Society (JES) is a BC-based non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people to access and deliver justice in Canada and globally. JES has been helping separating families for 20 years.