Considering Separation or Divorce? Here’s Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

By Timothy Henderson  |  October 24, 2022

Timothy Henderson

Hiring a lawyer to assist you with your divorce or separation can be intimidating and stressful. And it’s certainly true that having a lawyer represent you can be expensive. Our courts are seeing more and more self-represented parties in family matters. These are individuals who have decided to work through the process (either completely, or for a time) without a lawyer.

The reasons for this vary: for some, it’s the cost of retaining a lawyer; for others, it’s the perception that they can navigate the system on their own (or that lawyers don’t help). For many, it’s a simple lack of understanding of what they need to do, or of what a lawyer can even do to assist them with their situation.

At Henderson Family Law, we recognize that each situation is unique, and that every person requires the approach that is right for him or her—there is no cookie-cutter, “one size fits all” method that works in family law.

Our lawyers take the time to listen and work directly with each client to ensure that the client understands how it all works, as well as the various ways in which a lawyer may be able to assist with that person’s situation.

We view our role as that of legal advisor and/or legal counsel—to equip and empower our clients to make the decisions that are right for them, and to walk alongside in assisting the client in the direction that the client chooses, whether by way of full representation, or a limited-scope retainer (for more information on retainers, see Point 5 below).

Lawyers and legal services are expensive. We get that. That’s why we aim to maximize the value that our clients receive.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. Family law is all we do, and we do it well. That means that we know how to efficiently navigate the family law system—that vast web of rules and procedures that govern family matters. While self-represented parties often struggle with this aspect of representing themselves, our lawyers appear in family court frequently and are intimately familiar with the Ontario Family Law Rules, as well as the local practices of the various courts in Northwestern Ontario.
  2. We apply legal principles to your unique situation. While no two families are the same, statutes and case law are applied in a fairly consistent and predictable way to the legal issues that arise in a family law matter (such as parenting issues, child support, spousal support, and various property issues). A difference of opinion regarding these issues (or a lack of understanding with respect to the law) is what often drives conflict between parties in a family matter. Our goal is to take a realistic approach and to assist our client in understanding their matter in this context so that they know what to expect. We find that this empowers our clients in their negotiations and decision-making processes throughout their matter. Having legal advice early and throughout the course of your matter can also help ensure that you do not make decisions that have negative or unintended consequences.
  3. Our lawyers are trained to be tactical and strategic, not unnecessarily aggressive. We view court as the venue of last resort for resolving family matters, because it is expensive, stressful, time-consuming, and—very importantly—because both parties lose direct control over the outcome (which leads to the risk of an adverse result). If your matter requires the intervention of the court (because of certain issues, such as family violence or risk of abduction of a child), or it unavoidably proceeds to court for some other reason (for example, the other party has commenced the court proceedings), we will firmly represent your interests in court as cost-effectively as possible. Until that time, we will work with you in discussing and determining options that work best for you at fostering the solutions and outcomes that you are seeking. You are always in the driver’s seat!
  4. We utilize the assistance of our trained law clerks and law students to complete certain tasks on your matter at lower hourly rates, all under the direct supervision of your lawyer. All lawyers at Henderson Family Law work in a team environment as well and, when necessary, will work together where it will provide a benefit for your matter. This helps maximize our effectiveness on your behalf while keeping your legal costs as low as possible in the circumstances.
  5. We also offer “limited scope retainer” options in certain circumstances, which is a special type of retainer arrangement which means we provide services on a strictly specified, defined basis. This allows you, the client, to have more control over the amount of legal fees that you expend on your matter in cases where you have a limited budget or want to cap how much you will spend. Details can be discussed with a lawyer at your initial consultation.

Considering hiring a family lawyer? Contact Henderson Family Law to set up an initial consultation.


This content is provided as a general informational source by Henderson Family Law, and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, or establish a lawyer-client relationship. Every situation is complex and fact-specific, and appropriate advice will vary accordingly. Do not rely on this information for legal decision-making under any circumstances. Please consult with us and obtain proper advice and strategy concerning the specifics of your particular situation.

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