I strongly recommend that people going through a separation or divorce get legal advice prior to meeting in mediation. It is important for you to know your rights and responsibilities based on your individual situation. When you are informed, you can be more effective in your negotiations and you will increase your chances of success. It is also a very good idea to have a lawyer review your mediated agreement before you legalize it. Last, but not least, always ensure that the lawyer you speak with specializes in Family Law.
Where to get Legal Advice and Information:
- Legal Aid Alberta – Call to see if you qualify. Edmonton 780-427-7575 or elsewhere in Alberta 1-866-845-3425. Open Monday to Friday 8am-4:30pm in person and 8:30am-4pm for telephone service. Closed Wednesdays at 2:30pm.
- Lawyer Referral Service – 1-800-661-1095. This service will provide you with the name and contact information for 3 lawyers. You are allowed a 30 minute no charge consultation with each of them.
- Student Legal Services – 780-492-8244 or find them online at www.slsedmonton.com/family/. This service is managed by the Law students at the University of Alberta and is a non-profit society. They can provide you with legal information about family law matters, as well as some other services.
- Dial-A-Law – 1-800-332-1091. This service provides pre-recorded legal information that is accessible 24 hours a day. There is operator assistance to help select tapes Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
- Collaborative Family Lawyers – These lawyers provide assistance with family law matters using a collaborative process rather than a litigation process. Find them online at www.collaborativepractice.ca. You can search by region to find a collaborative lawyer in your area.
- Family Law Information Centre – 780-415-0404 in Edmonton or find them online at www.albertacourts.ab.ca/fjs/flic.php. This Centre will provide you with general information about family law, court procedures, court forms and child support calculations in some cases.
- Family Court Counsellors – 780-427-8343 in Edmonton or find them online at http://www.albertacourts.ab.ca/fjs/intake.php . Family Court Counsellors can assist you in making Parenting and Contact applications in Provincial Court. This is a free service.
- Employee Assistance Programs – If you have an employee assistance program through your employer, check to see if you are entitled to free legal advice regarding your family law matter.
Tips on how to Prepare to speak with a Lawyer:
- Put together a detailed outline of information regarding your situation.
- Make a list of any questions you have.
- Be honest. Don’t try to make yourself look better than the other person. If you color the story or leave out details, you can get the wrong advice. A lawyer can only do their best to advise you based on the accuracy and completeness of the information you give them.
- Stick to what is relevant. This will help you in your situation and your image.
- Provide whatever paperwork or information the lawyer requests as soon as it is possible.
- Ask about fee schedules and billing policies ahead of time to avoid any surprises.
- Make sure the lawyer is a good fit for you. This means that you feel comfortable with them and that your expectations fit with what they can provide you with.
Separating or Divorcing? Not sure where to start? Contact us today for your free phone consultation. Book your appointment online at http://tinyurl.com/p3tmvgk or contact our office directly at 780-417-3119.