When you are facing a family law issue, such as divorce, child custody, or spousal support, you can hire a lawyer or represent yourself. While you may be tempted to save money by choosing the latter option, the reality is that pro se (self-represented) litigants often overestimate their ability to protect their own interests, and their cases don’t turn out the way they hoped.
Below is an overview of three benefits gained by hiring a lawyer to handle your case.
1. You understand your rights.
You may think you know how the law works, especially if you’ve talked to friends who have been through a divorce or child support dispute, but every case is different. For example:
- You may assume that past mistakes prevent you from seeking custody of your children. However, a well informed lawyer knows that you have strong rights as a parent and will help you fight for them.
- If you were in a common-law relationship, you may believe that you aren’t entitled to spousal support. However, a lawyer can help you determine your rights as you likely have the same rights as a married couple, if you were living together for at least three years or you have a child together and lived with your partner in a committed relationship.
An Ontario family lawyer will know what you are entitled to under the law and will help you pursue outcomes that protect your relationship with your children as well as your financial security.
2. You avoid mistakes.
If you handle your own divorce or custody matter and you don’t have a legal background, you’re going to make mistakes. Guaranteed.
While you can access the Family Law Act and its associated rules online, this complex legal information is not easy to interpret and the paperwork is complicated. In the end, you may make decisions that couple potentially cause serious problems later on. For example:
- You may end up paying more child or spousal support than you need to (or not receive enough).
- Marital assets and debts may not be fairly divided.
- If your spouse is being difficult (for example, they are avoiding document service), you will have to take additional measures, such as file a motion for substituted service. If you are unaware of this, your case may be prolonged.
Although lawyers can be costly, they will ensure that things are done right the first time. Their expense will be far lower than what you may have to pay when refiling incorrect paperwork and changing completed orders if a mistake is made.
3. You get a strong advocate.
Family law issues are emotionally complex. People who once loved each other are now adversaries, and there are going to be times when emotions run rampant. Your former spouse may (and probably will) try to push your buttons and make you lose control.
If frustration and anger guide your decisions, you can hurt your case. By providing clear and knowledgeable advice and representation, a lawyer will help ensure that you don’t do anything that you’ll regret later on.
In short, when you use a lawyer, you will have an experienced advocate who will explain your rights, help you pursue them, and strive to bring about the best possible outcome for your case. If you’re looking for a talented, seasoned, professional lawyer, please contact Ichim Law today.