Video: What is a Retainer Agreement?
A working relationship between a client and their lawyer can be a harmonious one. However, if it goes askew or is not the right match from the start, it can actually add to the stress and hassle of resolving a Family Law dispute. Choosing a compatible lawyer is a big decision which will involve an assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, personality type, demeanor, organization, work ethic, etc. The selection process will presuppose that you have an understanding of what the lawyer you ultimately choose will be able to do for you.
Frustration, fear and sadness often accompany a divorce and your lawyer should help by providing you with guidance during this transition and what may be a difficult time in your life. The majority of individuals who find themselves in a quickly-unravelling relationship or who wander into a legal dispute typically have little experience or understanding of what the Family Law system involves, let alone have a comprehensive understanding of what their role – and the role of their lawyer – might be in that complex process.
It should go without saying that in order for a lawyer to provide competent and effective advocacy, they will have to have accurate information from those that have hired them for representation. Yet, we find that many clients sometimes tell some significant untruths. Here are the top lies that Family Law lawyers sometimes hear from their clients.
There are always at least two sides to any dispute in Family Law litigation, and legally speaking, one side will be deemed the winner. With adequate preparation and good representation to the court, the likelihood of a litigant with a solid case being victorious at trial is high.
The document and contract that you enter into with your lawyer is called the “retainer agreement”. The purpose of this agreement is to identify who your lawyer is, acknowledge that you are the client and to define and outline the scope of the services that you need. Your retainer agreement will also set out the obligations that you have to your lawyer as a client.
Discuss as Much as Possible Up Front: Prior to even hiring a lawyer, it is best for parties who plan on separating to try to have a few long, dispassionate discussions with each other to determine the key points of contention. Some of the things that you presume will be a point of heated battle with your spouse may not actually matter them at all, so the earlier you can identify the true issues, the sooner they will get resolved.
The general disclosure obligations for both parties play a significant role when determining “income” for the purposes of the Child Support Guidelines. Under Ontario Family Law, the scope of the disclosure obligation imposed on separating spouses is very broad. Specifically, pursuant to the Family Law Rules, a spouse involved in Family Law litigation is required, within 10 days of the other spouse’s request, to provide an affidavit that lists every document that is relevant to any issue in the case and in the party’s control, or available to the party on request.