Can’t afford a lawyer, but still need legal help? Consider unbundled services!

Think about whether you want to hire a lawyer who offers unbundled services. This means you can hire them to help with a certain part of your legal problem only. For example, to help you prepare your court documents.

This option is useful if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer to help with the whole legal problem. Or for example, if you hired a lawyer to help with your problem, but now don’t have enough money left to keep paying them. Unbundled services can also be called limited scope services, unbundled legal services, or legal coaching.

 

A lawyer that offers unbundled services usually divides all the things they would usually do for a client into smaller, separate steps or items. You can hire them to only do the things that you decide you need the most help with.

 

Unbundled services can be:
• Legal advice: meeting with a lawyer to get advice on what your legal options are
• Preparing documents: a lawyer prepares your documents, for example, a court application or a separation agreement
• Appearances: a lawyer represents you in legal situations, for example, at a court hearing, or at a case conference
• Coaching: a lawyer guides you through the court process, or explains how to submit evidence
Lawyers who offer unbundled services usually charge a flat fee. You may have to pay this fee before they help you. Usually you don’t have to pay any other deposit or retainer.
Some lawyers have websites that say if they offer “unbundled” or “limited scope” services. Others do not, but if you ask them, they may be willing to offer it to you.”

[Retrieved from
: https://stepstojustice.ca/common-question-step/1-find-lawyer]

“Bring her to the negotiating table on her knees”

Once I realized that my spouse and I were going to separate, I contacted a family lawyer to assist and to help guide me through the process. The first lawyer that I saw started by working on a plan to “cut off this and cut off that” and was adamant that I do everything in my power to hurt my partner financially and “bring her to the negotiating table on her knees”. The anger and aggression emanating from this individual actually scared me and I realized that this was not the right lawyer for me… I was scared and confused enough without looking for more conflict.

The next attorney that I contacted was helpful in arranging a separation agreement, but kept asking for meetings with myself and my (now) ex-wife to review the terms and firm up the agreement so that it could serve as the template for a divorce agreement. This process took over 2 years and several thousand dollars and at the end of this I was absolutely no further ahead in negotiating an agreement.

I then contacted a family lawyer who had helped a friend with a “high conflict divorce”. My divorce proceedings were not “high conflict”, and my ex-wife and I were able to meet and verbally agree to terms for the divorce several times. However, after we had agreed between ourselves to terms, the agreement was sent to one of our lawyers to write up and ensure that all was legal and acceptable. The agreement that came back from the lawyers, either hers or mine, was never what we had agreed to between ourselves and materially changed almost every element of the agreement…. I started to realize that we were never going to settle this with lawyers who were eager to continue to alter our agreed upon terms and kept circling back to “having our day and kicking some butt” in family court. I was now several years separated and had spent over fifteen thousand on legal fees without any progress.

With the help of mediators in the community, we were finally able to agree to divorce terms and find lawyers who were not pushing us into a courtroom and we were able to finalize a divorce agreement on the terms we had agreed upon several years earlier but could never seem to get either of our attorney’s to write into a legal document.

My experience with the attorneys that I had worked with was that my wishes and my desire to ensure the comfort and security of my children was always secondary to the lawyer’s desire to get into a courtroom and battle it out. I never wanted that; the last several years had been painful and expensive enough. While their intent may have been to “protect my interests”, the reality was that I was spending time and money on a process that wasn’t what I wanted and that was, ultimately, unsuccessful. Breaking the cycle of endless letters and office visits and just working on what we both wanted was the key to a mutually acceptable agreement that allowed us both to move on with our lives and put my focus on what was truly important to me and not my attorney.

Author: John A.

A Father’s Story

In 1987 my wife decided to leave…

We had 3 children. There were a number of reasons, and through talking it out with her we decided it was best for me to have full custody of the children, with her getting weekend and summer visitation. Initially, we involved lawyers which were expensive and made matters worse. By coming to an agreement ourselves, it did make things easier, although it was still very hard. There were no resources to turn to to get help and advice. We basically did it on our own.

Of course, this was nothing compared to becoming a single dad. I was really on my own except for one other single dad. I wasn’t raised to be the full-time parent and to carry a career. But, I did manage to make it through and did alright.

I eventually went on to be an online advisor for single parents and for those separating and divorcing, trying to help other single parents, especially dads. It came in handy when I went through my second divorce having a fourth child.

Workgroups and seminars such as the one the Family Mediation and Resource Centre are offering would have been a valuable and welcome resource back then. Surprisingly, being even needed more today, these types of resources are paramount for divorced and single dads.

If I could offer one piece of advice, it is make every decision based on what is best for the children. What is best for the children, in most cases, is to keep their lives as normal as possible, know that they are not to blame, and make sure they have equal and open access to both parents.

Rob

Check out our FREE events and groups:

Divorced or Separated Dads Group
Family Law Information Session (FLIS) 

Why a Peer Group for Divorced Dads?

While going through divorce, didn’t you always want a well-informed buddy who you can talk, gather information and plan ahead with?

This Divorced Dads Group was motivated by the notable lack of supports for dads experiencing divorce or separation. Its premise is that dads are equally important in their children’s lives and, just like moms or anyone experiencing divorce, dads also need help navigating through all challenges that separation comes with.
This group welcomes dads who have managed to successfully move past their divorce – to share their experience and help others.

Each dad needs different things:

  • Some dads need to share their experiences in a safe space
  • Some dads need to know that they’re not alone during this tough time
  • Some dads need more information about community resources
  • Some dads need to learn of different options to deal with their divorce
  • Some dads need to be heard and not judged
  • Some dads need to bounce ideas around
  • Some dads need to form positive relationships with other like-minded dads
  • Some dads simply need to share a laughter with others who get what he’s going through

The reality is that, sometimes, we all need support. And, you’d be surprised at how much well-informed “strangers” may actually support you more than the people you know.

Dads Peer Group

Fathering during and after divorce or separation – you’re not alone.

Why Join A Peer Group?

Everyone needs support when things get tough; some dads feel isolated and need to connect with other fathers; some need information or new tools; and others simply need to share a laugh with like-minded dads.

The idea is for fathers to have a space where they can share experiences, challenges and information with other dads. It provides opportunities for brainstorming, problem-solving and developing effective ways of dealing with post-separation.

Do I need to come to every group session?

While we welcome attendance at any session,  we recommend that you attend as many sessions as possible to maximize support and build a solid foundation for your post-separation life. There will also be guest speakers and a Holiday Party!

As our space is limited, we do want you to RSVP by sending a quick email to fmrcentre@gmail.com or calling our toll-free at 877-297-3312.

What is the format?

Each week, the group will be led by a peer dad, through a variety of topics. The dad has professional and personal experience with divorce, and is committed to supporting other fathers.

To accommodate diverse topics as those arise, we will not follow a strict curriculum. We will, however, attempt to cover the following discussions:

  • Effects of divorce on children and adults
  • Being a successful dad
  • Coping with divorce or separation
  • Having a quality relationship with children
  • Making co-parenting work
  • Ask a Lawyer: Legal Issues (guest speaker)
  • Avoiding or de-escalating conflict
  • Parenting Skills and Strategies
  • Benefits of fathering to children
  • When co-parenting is not successful
  • Complications of re-partnering or new relationships
  • Controlling emotions
  • Taking the high road for the sake of the children
  • Behaviours to avoid
  • Coping with a new stepfather
  • Ask a dad who’s been there: A dad’s 10-year legal battle (guest speaker)
  • Behaviours that have been shown to create positive outcomes
  • Communication and working as a team
  • Working through the loss of marriage
  • Talking to children about divorce or separation
  • Ask a Divorce Financial Expert: Financial Issues (guest speaker)
  • The benefits of divorce and formulating appropriate supports
  • Creating an effective parenting plan
  • How to handle holidays
  • Managing conflict within the co-parenting relationship
  • Holiday Party

Because men need support too

Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
From May 24 to November 15, 2018
at Ajax Public Library

Divorce Information Session

Focusing on divorce options, in-and-out of court.

These sessions are conducted by a family lawyer and provide a general overview of the areas of law that are relevant to separation and divorce, such as the different rights for married couples versus couples who are not married but live together, the law regarding spousal support, child support and support enforcement.

Our dedicated group recognizes that without knowledge – without first having legal information, on the effects of separation and divorce on adults and children; alternatives to litigation; family law issues; the family court system and local resources and programs, people are committed to a system that they never have wanted in the first place.

For full schedule & to register, please see below which locations are convenient.  

Pickering Library Central – monthly sessions ( check schedule)

Downtown Oshawa – every Wednesday at 6:30PM

Oshawa Library Legends Centre – July 11th, 2018

Toronto – Family Law Info Session – July 31st, 2018

“…adversarial family law system “appeared to encourage couples to become adversaries to a greater degree than they already are….to aggravate relations with the spouse…and to upset and humiliate people” (pp.214-215).” (Ellis, 2014)

Affordable Family Mediation

Family & Divorce Mediation 

Serving Durham, GTA and Peel Region

FMRC provides free and sliding-fee scale family mediation to families experiencing divorce or separation. We provide help with all of your matters, including financials, parenting plans and Separation Agreements (if needed).

Research clearly shows that going to court is committing to an adversarial and conflict ridden process; not to mention, lengthy and costly! We will help you stay out of court and keep control over decisions regarding your family.

What is family mediation?

Family Mediation is a voluntary process where a trained professional, called a mediator, helps participants to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement.  A mediator, unlike a judge or arbitrator, will not make decisions for you. You and your partner decide what will happen for your family. The mediator will act as a facilitator and referee, to help guide you regarding personal decisions for your lives and those whom you love. The key is: You and your partner maintain control over the outcome.

How does family mediation work?

Each party describes the dispute from his or her own point of view and offers possible solutions. The mediator helps the parties to focus on the real issues causing the problem and then helps them to find a workable solution(s). When the parties arrive at an agreement, the agreement is put in writing.

How do you begin the process?

Contact us to schedule an intake meeting. If you have a lawyer, ask him or her to connect with us.

Are there cases that should not be mediated?

Almost all problems can be resolved in family law mediation! You should however discuss with your lawyer or mediator about your specific circumstances.

How does divorce mediation help the couple emotionally?

Mediation supports the healing process; helps you focus on your future; eliminates aggressive bargaining and legal games; prioritizes the well-being of the children and addresses the parties’ needs and interests. You have a voice in the process.

So… Why choose Family Mediation?

It works. 80% family mediations end in agreement as the parties are motivated to find resolution.

It’s affordable. Parties generally agree to split the cost of a mediator. Mediated cases avoid costly litigation.

It’s quick. If everyone is committed, mediation results in settlement far quicker than waiting until near trial to settle.

It’s private. Almost everything disclosed during mediation is confidential and cannot be used in a lawsuit.

It’s impartial. Mediators have no stake in the outcome. Their role is to facilitate resolution of the family matters.

It’s cooperative, not adversarial. Family Mediation provides a comfortable, safe and respectful setting for discussion. It is no where as combative as court cases.

Let FMRC help you today!

Discovering Stories in Durham Region

The Family Mediation Resource Centre (FMRC) is proud to announce we have received an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) grant to deliver an Artists In the Community project entitled Discovering Stories in Durham.

Taking place between April and December 2017, Discovering Stories in Durham will be a series of free workshops open to the diverse communities in the Durham Region. This is an opportunity to collaborate with artists and other communities in Durham Region by telling your stories through art and performance. As a community project, we want to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.

In addition to building a sense of community, we believe that community arts projects can also stimulate social action by bringing attention to social issues in a way that can help evoke creative solutions for solving problems.

Using fun-filled games and exercises, along with music, movement and visual arts, ideas will be shared during the workshops.  With permission from the participants, we’ll save/record/keep track of your ideas to discover the most effective artistic discipline(s) for community members tell their stories in a possible public presentation in 2018.

If you are a Durham organization who wants to participate in this project, we would like to hear from you! Please email at durhamstories@fmrcentre.ca or call toll-free 877-297-3312

Benefit Concert

Shake off the winter blues at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern featuring two legendary Toronto Reggae bands, Fujahtive & Sattalites  and special guest, RaLion! RaLion was born in Melbourne Australia and raised in Toronto. RaLion grew up with a father from Melbourne, Australia and a mother from Kingston Ten, Jamaica, whose influence and musical tastes helped shape Lion’s deep seeded love of reggae. While his early musical influences came from listening to original roots, rock, reggae with his family, RaLion became ‘hooked’ when the “Talking Blues” (Bob Marley & The Wailers) CD came out. Burning Spear has also been a constant source of inspiration due to his use of horns.

Tickets are $15 advance online or $20 at the door in support of Family Mediation & Resource Centre (FMRC) , a one of a kind non-governmental organization in Ontario, who is helping families stay out of adversarial court Buy your tickets here (TITLE SPONSORSHIP HAS BEEN FILLED – Thank you Little Redstone!) Don’t forget you can also donate to our grass-roots movement! 

 

Buy your tickets today!