Self-Representation / Divorce Coaching

There are three options in family law court: hire a family lawyer, self-represent, and divorce legal coaching. This article will discuss the pros and cons of each.

A limited scope retainer is the same things as legal coaching. The lawyer is only being hired “at need.”

When most people contact a family law firm for the first time, they are very stressed out. They know they need to do something, but they don’t know where to begin. The other stress is how much the divorce is going to cost them.

Understanding Parenting Coordination

Hire A Family Lawyer

When you hire a family lawyer, he or she takes on your case. The lawyer you hired becomes responsible for your case. They do the work and make decisions. They often only speak to the client when they need information. It is for the best as your lawyer will charge an hourly rate for phone call updates.

Self-Represent In Family Court

Because some people can’t afford a lawyer, they take the risk and self-represent in family court. If you have assets and/or children, this is not recommended. If you have “nothing to lose,” then it may be okay to self represent.

Divorce Legal Coaching

There is a blend between self-representing and hiring a family lawyer full time. This is called Divorce Legal Coaching. A legal coach is a lawyer that “trains” people that are going through a family law issue.

There are three ways that you can get custody of your children:

What do legal coaches do?

A legal coach can help someone going through a family law issue offload some of their burden onto the lawyer. Going through something like a divorce is already stressful, but doing it yourself can seem impossible. A legal coach is a lawyer who is very knowledgeable about family law. They answer questions from people that are going through the family law court system self represented.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
I self-represented. My brother is a divorce attorney and pointed me in the right direction, but I did the work myself. I ended up with 50/50 everything (assets, debts, custody, everything), no alimony. We agreed to everything in mediation except for the alimony, then she dropped that a week later and signed off on the agreement.

Reviewer
Chris T

Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

How much does legal coaching cost?

The lawyers hourly rate which is often around $350/hour. Legal coaching is much cheaper than hiring a lawyer full time. It is a good alternative for those that cannot afford a family lawyer.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
I self-represented. My brother is a divorce attorney and pointed me in the right direction, but I did the work myself. I ended up with 50/50 everything (assets, debts, custody, everything), no alimony. We agreed to everything in mediation except for the alimony, then she dropped that a week later and signed off on the agreement.

Reviewer
Chris T

Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

At what stage can I hire a legal coach?

At any stage of a family law conflict. The lawyer can help with planning for court, training the individual how to act in court, working on a settlement offer, court procedures or to help with appeals if the self represented individual loses their case.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
I self-represented. My brother is a divorce attorney and pointed me in the right direction, but I did the work myself. I ended up with 50/50 everything (assets, debts, custody, everything), no alimony. We agreed to everything in mediation except for the alimony, then she dropped that a week later and signed off on the agreement.

Reviewer
Chris T

Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

How many people in Ontario are self presented each year?

Around 80,000 according to The Ryerson Legal Innovation Zone. People that consider legal coaching are often only willing to spend between $1,000 – $5,000 on their family law issue. The average full time lawyer will cost around $10,000 (but can be more).

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
I self-represented. My brother is a divorce attorney and pointed me in the right direction, but I did the work myself. I ended up with 50/50 everything (assets, debts, custody, everything), no alimony. We agreed to everything in mediation except for the alimony, then she dropped that a week later and signed off on the agreement.

Reviewer
Chris T

Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

Book a FREE 15 Minute Consultation

Looking to speak directly with a family lawyer? Book a consult with one of our lawyers for $100 for the first hour. Call us at 1-844-466-6529 or use our contact form here.

The family lawyer teaches how to do several things:

  • Preparing for court
  • Putting together a legal strategy
  • Getting ready for mediation or arbitration
  • The proper way to do affidavits
  • Giving a list of trusted advisors (psychologists, mediators, private investigators…etc.)
  • Checking an agreement that you drafted yourself
  • Checking an agreement the other side created
  • Teaching you the rules of the court
  • Giving you the sections of law that might apply to you can focus your reading

The lawyer provides advice, but it is up to the person being coached to make the decisions. Also, you will do most of the work, which greatly reduces legal fees.

There are a lot of people that have just a few questions they need answered. They want to ask general questions and they want to get to know how the divorce process works in their province.

The most common question we get asked is how to prepare for family court. Our lawyers would be happy to share their experience with you. At any state of your divorce process, you can reach out to us toll free at 844-466-6529

Divorce legal coaching

The person being coached gets to decide how much they spend on coaching. This is different to the person who hires a family lawyer to take care of the matter in the court. The lawyer should be able to provide an estimate. But it is only an educated guess. With coaching, you know that if you get two hours of coaching, it will only cost you $700.

Feedback from people going through Divorce:

“She didn’t want alimony, we had a good agreement on support/ shared custody, and neither of us could afford a lawyer. She put us in debt before she sprang the news. Hoarded money, and so on. Then, everything went well in court until our child support agreement.

The judge threw it out even though we both agreed and signed a statement. He did it because he wanted to. He was an ass……Anyway, I did do a lot of free consultations with different lawyers asking different questions so I had a good idea of how to go about it….. If you can afford a lawyer and the ex is difficult, I’d say you should. If the ex is working with you (being fair about working out the details), you can save a lot of money in the short term at least, when you need it most to get on your feet. That’s my take on it, everyone’s situation is different.” – Chris

Read more: Family Law Case Conference

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
I self-represented. My brother is a divorce attorney and pointed me in the right direction, but I did the work myself. I ended up with 50/50 everything (assets, debts, custody, everything), no alimony. We agreed to everything in mediation except for the alimony, then she dropped that a week later and signed off on the agreement.
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star