People who contact me for the first time frequently ask the same questions. Below is a summary of answers to the questions most people have when they contact my office.
Please note that the following is not to be interpreted as legal advice with respect to any particular situation. If you have specific questions concerning your individual case, please contact me to discuss your situation.
Do I need a lawyer?
The short answer is it depends. Every situation is different and whether you require legal assistance depends on the issues involved. I pride myself on assisting clients in achieving optimal outcomes in the most cost-effective way possible. If you do not require a lawyer, I will tell you. If you are unsure of whether you require a lawyer, then I recommend you schedule a consultation to review your matter with me.
The initial consultation is designed to assess your case and determine the best course of action. During the initial consultation, which costs $300 + HST, you will have the opportunity to meet with me, ask questions, provide information, and fully explain your situation. I will ask questions to flesh out the legal issues specific to your matter, help you understand the law, assess the strength of your position and offer guidance on your options for proceeding.
An initial consultation is also important for assessing compatibility. You should not feel you need to hire the first lawyer you meet. Just like all human relationships, some fit better than others. An initial consultation is your opportunity to determine if you feel comfortable with hiring me as your lawyer.
I invite you to contact me if you would like to set up a consultation.
How much will it cost?
Unless your matter is a flat fee service (e.g. Wills, Real Estate), I cannot give you a proper estimate without speaking to you to determine the issues unique to your situation. The first step is to schedule an initial consultation so that we can have an honest discussion about how much you can expect to spend to obtain the results you require and how you will be expected to make payment.
What is a retainer?
A retainer refers to a lump sum payment made by a client to a lawyer to hire that lawyer. A retainer payment is like a “last month’s rent” deposit often requested by landlords. Essentially, it is a way to ensure prompt payment for work completed by the lawyer on your file. Most family law matters require a retainer payment be provided by a client before a lawyer will open a file and begin work. The retainer payment provided by the client is held in the lawyer’s trust account until the lawyer completes work on behalf of that client. When a lawyer bills a client for work completed, the lawyer takes payment from the client’s retainer funds. The client is then asked to replenish the retainer to the original balance until the client’s matter is completed.
How long will it take?
Every situation is different and how long your legal matters will take depends on the issues and people involved.
In family law matters timeline can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the file, the need for litigation, the speed of disclosure and the communication from the other party. It can be difficult to give an exact timeline, but I will do my best to explain reasonable timeline expectations during our consultation. These unknown variables also impact the financial investment required to complete your matter.
Real estate transactions and the preparation of Wills/Power of Attorney documents have a fairly consistent timeline. Please contact me to discuss these timelines.
Do you offer free consultations?
No, I do not offer free consultations. I charge initial consultations at a rate of $300 + HST, which reflects one hour of my time, regardless of how long you spend discussing your matter at the consultation. I pride myself on offering thorough consultations that cover every aspect of your family file. I gather information, educate you on the law, discuss options for resolution and provide you with an opinion at the initial consultation.
Unfortunately, there is a cost associated with getting legal assistance. If you are seeking a quick opinion on a family law matter, but do not wish to attend for a consultation, please consider visiting the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) located at your local Court House where you can obtain free advice. You can find a FLIC office near you by Clicking Here.
Can I get a divorce without going to court?
Yes. If both parties agree, and there are no outstanding contentious issues stemming from the breakdown of the marriage, then you can get legally divorced without having to attend court at all.
Only a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice can authorize a Divorce. Therefore, someone must attend at the courthouse to file the paperwork, but as long as there are no other outstanding issues, there will be no need for either party to step foot inside a courtroom.
If you are contemplating Divorce, or are in the early stages of separation, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer to learn your rights. You may be surprised to learn you have entitlements or obligations you did not consider. A good first step is to schedule an initial consultation. Please contact me to discuss your needs.
What is the difference between legal coaching and unbundled legal services?
The main difference between legal coaching and unbundled legal services is the level of involvement of your lawyer.
With legal coaching, I get to know your file and can assist you from the beginning of your file to the end. In the legal coaching model, you are encouraged to complete tasks on your own, and you are guided by me through the procedure necessary to move your matter forward. In the unbundled services model (sometimes referred to as a limited scope retainer), you simply hire me to complete a specific task for you. For example, you might hire me to prepare your court material. Once the task is completed, my role in your file ceases and you proceed on your own. Both options allow a self-represented individual access to a lawyer for a limited purpose.