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What Is a Consultation Appointment, and Do I Need One?


It is not always necessary to retain a lawyer to access legal advice.  Clients are often concerned that seeing a lawyer will result in a long-term retainer and legal fees they cannot afford.  It is often important to get advice at the front end of a family law matter to avoid making decisions without crucial information.

The lawyers at Bell and Stock Family Law offer consultation appointments so that you can get answers to the questions you have concerning your family law situation, without the pressure of retaining counsel. Below are some examples of when you may want to consider booking a consultation appointment with a family law lawyer:

1. If you do not have a lawyer and don’t want to retain a lawyer, but have a Court Application pending, or are a party to a Court Application

You do not have to retain a lawyer after you have been served with a Court Application, but it is a good idea to get advice before representing yourself in Court.  A consultation can help answer any questions you have, and walk you through what you can expect when you arrive at Court to represent yourself.

2. If you’ve been served with a Court Application

Being served with a Court Application can be overwhelming.  A consultation appointment can help you understand what you need to do next and what to expect. You should expect to leave a consultation appointment with a general overview of the law in that area, and the process you will need to go through to respond to the Court application.

3. If your income has changed since your last child support order was granted

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a positive obligation on you to disclose any increase in income and adjust any support payments being made.  Failing to do so may result in a retroactive amount owing at some point in the future, which may be a hardship to repay later.

4. If your income has changed since your last spousal support order was granted

If your income has changed since you began paying spousal support, you may wish to review whether changing your spousal support payments is an option.

5. If you and your spouse have agreed to a change in your parenting arrangement that may effect your child support payment

A new parenting arrangement can mean new responsibilities and obligations vis a vis child support.  A consultation appointment can walk you through some of those new responsibilities and obligations, including any potential change to child support payments being made.

6. If you are considering separating from your spouse, but you are not sure what is going to happen and what you should expect

Deciding whether to separate from your partner is a very big decision.  A consultation appointment can give you the information you need to make an informed decision, and make sure you do not fall into any of the common pitfalls along the way.

7. To make sure you understand your rights and obligations vis a vis your spouse

Understanding the ‘lay of the land’ before making a decision can be helpful so that you can start making plans for your future, if you are considering leaving your relationship.  There are many mistaken beliefs about separation and divorce.  A consultation can provide you the information you need to make an informed decision.

 8. To avoid making costly mistakes along the way

It is often more difficult and therefore costly to fix mistakes after the fact.  A consult can help you avoid falling into the many pitfalls that exist when maneuvering any family law related issue.

9. Before You Sell Your Home

If you sell your home, and divide the net sale proceeds, it could result in unforeseen consequences, both legal and practical, when dividing the rest of the Family Property and dealing with issues of spousal support and child support.  A consult can provide information you need prior to finalizing the sale of your home so you can protect your share of the equity.

10. Before You Finalize Any Property Agreement Between Yourself and Your Ex-Partner

A family law agreement, either written or verbal, between partners is not valid in Alberta, unless you have received Independent Legal Advice.  There could also be practical consequences that could be hard and costly to “un-do”.  A consultation can provide you with the information you need to avoid common pitfalls.

Relationship breakdown can be both stressful and overwhelming.  Arming yourself with information is often the first step forward.  Please contact us to book a consultation.

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