Do you find yourself in the unexpected position of needing help from a Family Law lawyer? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of commencing legal proceedings? You’re not alone. Rest assured these are murky waters most couples do not envision navigating. Indeed, there can be much at stake when you and your soon-to-be former spouse are no longer paddling in the same direction.
If you’re feeling lost at sea, here are some quick tips for working smarter with your Family Law lawyer so you can move your boat to the finish line:
Organize Your Thoughts
There’s a lot of homework when you deal with your Family Law lawyer. You will be asked to complete a detailed intake form prior to your first consultation. In addition to completing basic information, this is the moment to tell your story. You are encouraged to create a timeline of events as part of your homework to ensure you’ve painted a fulsome picture of your circumstances. The more your Family Law lawyer understands about your situation at this stage, the better equipped they are to determine the next steps.
One Lawyer, One Couple
It is not advisable for your Family Law lawyer to represent you and your spouse. While you may be under the impression that such an arrangement will reduce legal fees, chances are your Separation Agreement will be set aside one day by a Court if your Family Law lawyer represents both of you. Rectifying a situation like this is time-consuming and costly. Furthermore, a Family Law lawyer who represents both parties risks breaching their obligation of confidentiality that is owed to you and your spouse.
As mentioned, there’s a lot of homework involved in a Family Law case, especially when it comes to Financial Disclosure. Timely and accurate disclosure is key to achieving a fair, cost-effective, and lasting result. Your Family Law lawyer will ask for your last three (3) years of Income Tax and Benefit Returns and Notices of Assessment; your last three (3) paystubs or statement of earnings; your T4/T4A/T5 slips for the current year; and any supporting documentation to confirm values that will be included in your Financial Statement.
Lawyers Are Not Therapists
Expecting your Family Law lawyer to act as your therapist drives up legal fees and prevents them from making progress on your case. Your Family Law lawyer is hired to do one thing, and one thing only – deal with your legal issue(s). This is why you are encouraged to engage the services of a therapist or counsellor to deal with the emotional toll that Family Law proceedings may have on you.
Do not minimize or hide abuse. If you are afraid of your spouse, or fear for your children’s safety, please discuss this with your Family Law lawyer to ensure appropriate measures are put in place.
One Size Does Not Fit All
It’s unlikely that a “One size fits all” approach applies to your situation. Don’t be tempted to compare your case to other people’s experiences or rely on your family and friends for their opinions. Your Family Law lawyer is the only person who is equipped to answer questions about your case that are of a legal nature.
Our Family Law Lawyers are here to guide you as efficiently and effectively as possible as you set sail on a new chapter of life. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to book an initial consultation with our team.
At Mills & Mills LLP, our lawyers regularly help clients with a wide range of legal matters including business law, real estate law, estate law, employment law, health law, and tax law. For over 130 years, we have earned a reputation amongst our peers and clients for quality of service and breadth of knowledge. Contact us online or at (416) 863-0125. The material provided through the Mills & Mills LLP website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.