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How to Hire a Family Lawyer

When a marriage is ending, it's hard to think calmly and rationally about issues like division of assets, child support, income tax issues, and so on. Highly charged emotions and stress affect your judgement, and take centre stage. At times like these you need an experienced family lawyer to counsel you, giving you clear, reliable advice...not just what you want to hear.

How a lawyer can help
What to prepare for a first meeting
Questions to ask

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How a lawyer can help

Because of training and experience, an experienced family lawyer can

  • Act quickly to protect your rights
  • Explain your options and how the law applies to your situation
  • Advise you of the pros and cons of any proposed arrangements with your spouse
  • Negotiate with your spouse or his or her lawyer
  • Prepare a separation agreement
  • Prepare divorce papers
  • Represent you in court
  • Seek a court order for physical protection, if necessary
  • Make sure that you will be able to enforce the arrangements you have made with your spouse

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What to prepare for a first meeting

For the first meeting with your lawyer, prepare a list of all the assets that you or your spouse own, and the approximate value of each, including

  • bank accounts
  • RRSPs
  • property
  • cars
  • stocks or mutual funds
  • life insurance
  • businesses
  • jewelry
  • any other assets

You should also prepare a list of debts that you or your spouse owe, and a schedule of monthly income and expenses. Don't forget to bring copies of income tax returns for the past five years for both spouses.

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Questions to ask

To ensure an efficient working relationship with your lawyer, ask these questions at your first meeting:

  • What is your hourly rate, and what do you estimate this case will cost?
  • What might change this estimate?
  • How can I keep the costs down?
  • How long will my case take?
  • What information do you need from me?
  • What steps should I take next?
  • What will you do now?
  • How often should we keep in touch?
  • Do you have an assistant that I can talk to about my case when you are out?
  • Is it better to use fax or e-mail to communicate with you?
  • When will I hear from you?
  • Will you send me copies of all letters or faxes that you send out or receive?

Being well-prepared will help you avoid unnecessary legal fees.

See also "Five Ways to Save on Legal Fees".

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More questions?
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Legal disclaimer:  The information provided on Lawyers-BC.Com is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered. Your access to and use of this Web site is subject to additional terms and conditions.

This page last updated: 2008.11.07
© copyright 1999 Lawyers-BC.Com Services Ltd.