There’s a new film coming out on January 10th narrated by Dr. Drew Pinsky (of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ fame) critiquing the the dysfunctional divorce industry in the U.S. The movie, ‘Divorce Corp.’, explores the divorce industry- from what it costs to retain a lawyer, to the length of time it takes to get a divorce, and…Read More
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Unbundled Services and Self Represented Litigants
With the cost of legal services- particularly litigation- being so high, it’s not always possible to be able to afford full representation from a lawyer throughout your case. Unbundled services, or limited scope representation, offers an alternative. Although unbundled services are less expensive than full representation, they still aren’t cheap. Neither are they appropriate in every case. Keep in mind that even for unbundled service, if you’re retaining a lawyer to help you with drafting, you should expect to pay legal fees in the range of several thousand dollars if you are involved in litigation where you want help from the initial Application through and including the first motion.
Reviewing financial statements
Completing financial disclosure is an important step in advancing any family law matter whether you’re litigating or trying to resolve things out of court. I can review your financial statement, and your ex’s financial statement, and provide you with an assessment as to whether the statements have been completed properly, whether any assets need professional valuations, as well as explain the net family property calculation. Prior to this review, you will need to electronically input all relevant financial information into the appropriate court form.
Preparing you for a court hearing
If you’ve got a scheduled court hearing coming up, I can assist you in preparing for this hearing. You don’t have much time to make your point when you’re in front of a judge, and you can’t waste time on irrelevant facts, or emotional pleas. As s self-represented person, you’re still required to know the rules of the court, and the family law rules. A judge is not there to coach you or help you along- that’s not their job. A lawyer can give you helpful points about courtroom procedure, ensure that you’re focusing on what matters most, and that you present your case in the best way possible. My role in helping you prepare for court does not include any substantive legal advice about the merits of your case, but is only meant to help you with the procedural aspects of going to court.
Drafting court pleadings and other forms
I can assist with drafting pleadings, or affidavits, for court. I will not be your lawyer of record and my name will not appear on any court documents. You will be in charge of serving the materials, filing them at the courthouse, negotiating with opposing counsel, and managing any deadlines.
Since any relief you’re looking for needs to be specifically pleaded, hiring a lawyer to help you draft pleadings is an important way to safeguard your rights even if you cannot afford full representation.
There are some things to keep in mind when considering unbundled services. You need to be comfortable appearing on your own behalf in the courtroom. Whether it’s for a case conference, an adjournment, or a motion, if a lawyer assists you with drafting pleadings, they won’t be standing up in court and arguing your case for you like they would under a traditional retainer. Court can be intimidating, especially when you’re advocating for yourself in the area of family law against another lawyer. You need to make a realistic assessment of yourself regarding whether you have the ability and willingness to speak on your own behalf.
If you want a detailed legal opinion on all substantive aspects of your case, ranging from equalization of family property, to child support and custody/access, then an unbundled service is not what you need. Substantive legal opinions can usually only be provided within the context of full representation. With that in mind, I don’t review separation agreements on an unbundled basis, or give legal advice on agreements that weren’t drafted by lawyers. The legal advice offered in relation to a separation agreement is full representation and usually costs between $3,000.00-4500.00 plus HST.
As with all legal services, if you are an unbundled services client, you will still be asked to sign a formal retainer letter with me. Among other things, this retainer will itemize those tasks for which I will be responsible,and those tasks for which you as the client will be responsible.
If and when required, a limited scope retainer can be converted into full representation and vice-versa.
Why use me as your lawyer?
I'm a lawyer representing clients in Kanata, Nepean, and the west-end of Ottawa.
Kerry Fox, LL.B.
Barrister & Solicitor
90 Centrepointe Dr,
Nepean, ON K2G 6B1
Tel: (613) 224-4400
Fax: (613) 226-8767
Hours & Information
There is plenty of free parking located at the back of the building.
Monday to Friday
8:30AM - 5:00PM
I also have Saturday appointments available.