The Dangers of a “DIY Divorce”

The decision to handle your divorce or separation without consulting a family lawyer can have long-term consequences. While the number of couples choosing to represent themselves in family matters is growing, the dangers of a “DIY” divorce have never been higher.

Here are three important reasons why consulting an experienced lawyer from our Family Law Team should be one of your first steps:

  1. Family Courts are Complicated

    Parties considering self-representation are usually aware that Ontario has a separate set of Court procedures that deal with family matters.

    However, self-represented individuals do not always realize that navigating these procedures can be complicated. Regional courts have individual differences based on their internal processes and unwritten guidelines. As a result, each court house may have quirks relating to documents and filing that cannot be ascertained without direct experience. Failing to appreciate how these operate can result in missed opportunities or worse, deadlines, which can seriously delay or prejudice your case.

    Our Waterloo-based family practice team has extensive experience with the family court in Waterloo Region, and can help get your claim resolved faster and with less expense.

  1. Every Possibility Will Be Explored

    Most people have never been through a divorce before, but they are familiar with the common issues that will arise, like division of property, support payments, and child custody arrangements.  But a family lawyer has dealt with hundreds of divorce and separation cases. They will have a good sense of realistic outcomes, and will be able to see options that someone without any experience might miss. They also use their experience to make tactical decisions that can influence the final outcome of a case.

    In addition to advising you on the most reasonable options available, a family lawyer will also anticipate potential roadblocks that could slow or derail your claim. Something that you may consider insignificant could have implications that a family lawyer can recognize early on. With a better understanding of the risks and realities of your claim, your family lawyer can help you make important decisions with complete information.

    A dedicated family lawyer will also help you identify realistic settlement terms for your situation. They will also provide advice and guidance on any settlement offers, helping you to decide whether a given offer is fair.  This increases the chance of resolving your matter quickly, and outside of court, both of which can save you time and money.

    Finally, you will know that nothing has been left out of your settlement. Your lawyer will work to ensure that the final agreement concludes all relevant issues.

  1. Objectivity is Priceless

    Your lawyer does more than handle the paperwork and interpret the legalese: your lawyer is there to insulate you from the stress and emotional difficulty of dealing with your divorce on a daily basis. Divorce proceedings can be lengthy, and involve large volumes of documents and regular correspondence.

    With emotions running high, it is difficult to remain objective if you try to handle a divorce yourself. Regular requests for documents may be interpreted as vexatious, and certain tactics might seem pointless or spiteful. Your lawyer can explain why the other party has taken a certain position, and identify which requests are reasonable.

    Going through a divorce or separation is emotionally challenging, and involves making life-changing decisions at a time of great uncertainty.  Having a family lawyer to advise you on the consequences of certain choices, and provide support throughout the process, is invaluable.

    In addition to divorce and separation, the Family Law Group at Duncan, Linton LLP can assist with a range of matters, including custody disputes, property and asset division, and child or spousal support proceedings.

    Contact us today for a consultation. Having your case handled by one of our knowledgeable family lawyers allows you to focus on other things, confident that your best interests are being protected. When your claim is resolved, you will feel better knowing that you had our expertise on your side.