Do I Need an Alberta Divorce Lawyer?
Many people ask, “Do I need an Alberta Divorce lawyer?” The short answer is no. Sometimes you need an Alberta Divorce lawyer, but most couples do not. Because lawyers dominate the divorce industry, many people don’t realize that other legal professionals can assist you in filing your divorce for far less money.
There is Another Way, the Third Way
At TDS, we call our Constructive Divorce™ the “third way.”
Divorce lawyers are the expensive way to get divorced. Each spouse has to hire their own lawyer, which doubles the cost right there. Also, lawyers get paid by the hour, so they are not motivated to finalize the divorce quickly and efficiently.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can file your divorce yourself. The problem here is that if you make even a tiny error on the forms, the judge will reject the entire file. There isn’t much free online information to assist you with this process, and it’s pretty complex. It is cheap, though; you can file your own divorce for a few hundred dollars.
Then, there is the third way. Other divorce professionals like paralegals and mediators can guide you through the process. Trusted Divorce Services is that kind of service. We’re different from divorce lawyers because we work with both spouses for one fee.
We also don’t charge by the hour; we charge by the service, so we don’t benefit from delays.
Price Comparison: TDS vs Alberta Divorce Lawyer
Here’s a look at our prices vs. the average Alberta divorce lawyer’s prices. As you can see, we help our clients get divorced in half the time for a third of the cost.
Lawyer Or No Lawyer?
When I left my job at the Divorce Court in Alberta and started Trusted Divorce Services, I was shocked to see how many people simply did not know they could get a divorce without a lawyer.
Even though I’ve now helped hundreds of Albertans divorce without a lawyer, new clients still ask me if they will require a lawyer at the end of the process. They don’t.
I get it. It’s confusing.
Here are some of the questions I hear most often:
Q: Isn’t a lawyer required to sign off on the documents before they are accepted in court?
A: The answer is no. Your divorce documents will be accepted as long as they adhere to the court mandates and the court clerks’ document checklist.
Q: I really dislike my soon-to-be-ex. We do not get along, and we disagree on several points. Does that mean we need a lawyer?
A: Not necessarily. If you and your ex can at least agree that you don’t want to use lawyers, and you can be in the same room together, our mediators can do the rest.
Q: We have kids. Doesn’t that mean we need a lawyer to work out custody and child support?
A: No, we help people formalize their co-parenting arrangements every day. If you and your spouse agree that you both want what’s best for your children, we can help you even if you don’t necessarily agree on what that means.
Lawyers Are Sometimes Necessary
Don’t get me wrong; some people need an Alberta divorce lawyer. Here are four signs you and your spouse each need a lawyer:
- Neither spouse is willing to communicate directly with the other spouse nor get mediation to help facilitate this;
- There is a power imbalance, and your spouse will not negotiate in good faith;
- There are safety issues that put you or your kids at risk; and,
- Your ex has mental health concerns or addictions issues.
If any of these applies to you, here are some steps to take before hiring a lawyer:
- Get information from the free resources available, like Calgary Legal Guidance or Legal Aid.
- Speak to more than one lawyer and choose the one who is the best fit. You will be dealing with this person a lot and for months. You should trust and work well with them.
- Choose a lawyer from an office that specializes in family law. Avoid firms that do a bit of everything. What’s the old expression? Jack of all trades, master of none.
- When you have chosen a lawyer, interview them before you begin working together. Some law firms will offer a half-hour free consult, some charge a small amount for the consult, and some expect a full hourly rate payment.
Finally, ensure that you have at least $10,000 readily available for legal fees and another $20,000 that you can access later on in the process.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse can at least agree you don’t want to spend that much money, can be respectful to each other and want to prioritize fairness, try using a non-lawyer divorce professional like TDS.
Here’s a chart that will help you decide which is the best choice for you:
Are you stuck in a divorce rut? You want child support, some money from the house, or simply a final divorce, but none of those seem to be attainable any time soon? Right now, if you are successful at booking a child support hearing through the Court of King’s Bench, you can expect a Judge to look at your case ONE YEAR from now. Can you imagine what it is like for a single parent, with limited income, and limitless legal fees trying to make ends meet in this Alberta economy? Hurts my heart.