The following blog was written by Marcus Sixta of HART Legal.
Everyone has heard the horror stories. A couple wants to separate, they hire lawyers and then fast-forward five years, they have liquidated most of their matrimonial assets on legal fees and are still not divorced.
It was recently reported that a couple in Ontario was chided by the presiding judge in a bitter child custody battle for spending $500,000 in legal fees. Neither party could afford it. They were average people of modest financial means. In addition to squandering their child’s financial future, the psychological impact of such an acrimonious dispute should not be overlooked. The judge at one point stated, “How does this keep happening? What will it take to convince angry parents that nasty and aggressive litigation never turns out well?”
This is why at HART Legal we always start by looking at the most cost-effective family law and divorce options. If your matter requires a resolution in the family law courts, our divorce lawyers will aggressively advocate your position. However, we know that in most family law cases it is much more cost-effective and efficient to attempt alternative dispute resolution processes. This may include mediation with a third party divorce lawyer, family law arbitration, or processes through the family law courts such as judicial dispute resolution and case conferences.
Moreover, there is an emotional and psychological cost in any divorce process which should not be overlooked. It may be possible to go to court and extract a little more family property or spousal support but it may not be worth the emotional toll this process can have on the entire family. These are factors which must be weighed when determining the family law process that is appropriate for you.
Also, many couples going through a divorce can come to an agreement on their own and only need the assistance of a divorce lawyer to draft their separation agreement or divorce documents. We encourage this process by providing separating couples with hassle free flat rates for uncontested family law matters including the following:
$999 for an uncontested divorce
$1999 for an uncontested separation agreement
$2399 for an uncontested cohabitation/prenuptial agreement
$2499 for an uncontested adoption application
This way you know what you are paying for upfront and don’t need to worry about being surprised by a bill you didn’t expect at the end.
Furthermore, if you do not believe that you can afford a divorce lawyer there may be other options available to you including legal aid or a limited scope retainer. In a limited scope retainer you and your family law lawyer can agree to limit the type of work that your lawyer does on your file. In order to reduce the cost of your divorce action you may agree to be the face of your file while your lawyer works in the background providing you with advice and helping you to draft documents.
If you are going through a separation or divorce and are claiming child-support, spousal support/alimony, custody or the division of matrimonial or common law property, or, if you are seeking a prenuptial or separation agreement, give us a call and we would be happy to discuss how to resolve your family law matter while keeping your legal costs down as much as possible.
Also, if you read through this article, it appears that you find family law interesting! Have a look at our franchise information page.