Representing Yourself In An Ontario Family Law Matter

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Some couples may decide to represent themselves in their own disputes and litigation.  However, there are various hazards that can arise anytime a couple chooses to take this step.  These hidden disadvantages and costs will more than likely become involved and there are unfortunately many cases that have had to experience the risks that come with self-representing.

Potential Hurdles When Self-Representing in Family Law

Although it may seem like a self-serving position to take, the benefits of self-representing are few and the risks and disadvantages are many. For those who are contemplating whether or not to take on the advocate’s role in their own Family Law dispute, there are a few things you may want to think about first.

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Can A Family Member Represent Me In Court? What If They Are A Suspended Former Lawyer?

We have discussed that there has been an upsurge in self-represented litigants in Family Law proceedings and we have touched on some of the inherent dangers involved in choosing to act on your own rather than being represented by an experienced lawyer. However, in an Ontario case called Scarlett v. Farrell, the mother in a custodial dispute believed she had the next best thing – her stepfather, who was a former lawyer with roughly 200 trials under his belt.

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The Wrong Way To Handle Your Family Law Matter

Sometimes the best way to learn is from the mistakes made by others. With separation, divorces and custody battles being so common, it is wise to be educated on the mishaps of previous cases to ensure you can do what you can to avoid facing the same downfalls.

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Courtroom Conduct: Things Self-Represented Litigants Should Know

As a self-represented party, you will have to represent yourself at trial. We can set out some practical and procedural matters with respect to courtroom conduct and the trial process however we cannot possibly cover all of the things you need to know about conducting a trial in this overview. In providing you with this information, we do not assume any responsibility to provide you with legal advice through this overview and it cannot even begin to replace the advice and assistance that would be available to you if you had legal counsel.

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Conducting A Trial: Things Self-Represented Litigants Should Know

It is important to remember that, as a self-represented litigant, you are fully responsible for the presentation of your case to the court and you cannot relieve yourself of this responsibility by simply relying on these comments or by relying on the fact that you are not represented by counsel. If you have questions at any time, you should let the trial judge know. That being said, here are our top five things that you need to know about conducting your own trial.

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Evidence at Trials: Things Self-Represented Litigants Should Know

If you do choose to represent yourself in your trial, we have compiled a list of the top ten things you should know about evidence. 1. Questioning Witnesses: Certain rules must be followed when questioning a witness. One set applies when you are asking questions of a witness you have called, referred to as “examination in chief”. During the examination chief of your own witness, you are not permitted to ask “leading” questions, unless you are questioning the witness on introductory things or matters that are not in dispute. This means that you are not able to ask a question that suggests the answer within the question itself.

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