There is an interesting article in the January 31, 2014 Calgary Herald titled “Triage desks planned for courthouses” (City & Region section, page A7). The purpose of the triage desks is to provide litigants information about their case, and to suggest alternatives to court. This is an excellent idea, and should be pursued.
Of course, the best way to approach disputes, especially disputes over family law issues, is to avoid court in the first place. A family law lawyer should have a frank discussion with their client about the costs of ‘going to court,’ including not only the financial costs but the effects of such a decision on their life, children, stress level, and peace of mind.
I believe that almost all legal issues on separation can be resolved in a respectful and dignified way, and out of a courtroom. My practice focuses on helping people find those out of court resolutions, in a way that allows both individuals to focus on solving a problem rather than fighting in a courtroom. The vast majority of people needing a family law lawyer should not see the inside of a courtroom.
When interviewing a lawyer, I see nothing wrong with asking him or her how many times he or she has been in a courtroom in the last month, or year. The answer is always interesting.
The article includes the result of a survey for the average legal costs in Western Canada for certain legal services. What I found interesting was the costs for family law issues:
Uncontested divorce: $1,442.00
Contested divorce: $16,001.00
Separation Agreement: $1,785.00
Child custody and support agreement: $2,011.00
I can usually offer flat fees for separation agreements for clients who are interested in the amicable and respectful resolution of their legal issues on separation, and these flat fees are typically below the ‘average’ set out in the article.
Feel free to call or email me to discuss your matter.