Why you shouldn’t represent yourself in a Family Court proceeding

Divorce Laywers St Catharines

Aug 4, 2016

Separation is a difficult process for both parties, especially if children are involved. When you have decided to end your relationship, you should try to work out the terms of a separation agreement.  Sometimes this is not possible and you may need to go to court to resolve your issues with your spouse. 

Although you can file a court application on your own, it is in your best interests to consult with a lawyer before doing so. A lawyer who specializes in Family Law will provide you with legal advice so that you will understand the issues involved in your case and how separation will affect your rights and obligations with your spouse. 

A Family Law lawyer can pursue what you are legally entitled to through the negotiation of separation agreement or by representation in a court proceeding.

Talk to a Family Law lawyer about going to court


If you must go to court, you will need to make important decisions. Many of these decisions will be driven by what the law affords. Legal advice will help you with the decisions you must make and proper representation can ensure the best result for your case. 

It is in your interests to seek counsel from an experienced Family Law lawyer. In protecting these interests, your consultation with a Family Law Lawyer may include: 

  • determination of your issues and how to achieve your goals in Family Court
  • information about legal rules and procedures in court
  • advice on what evidence you will need
  • discussion of the legal arguments for and against your case
  • consideration of risks you may face in court
  • information about legal costs and how costs are determined in court

Getting started and litigating your Family Court case

To start a proceeding in Family Court, you must prepare and file an application and financial information usually in the jurisdiction where you live. If your application includes a claim for access or custody, you will need to prepare and file additional forms. Once your proceeding is started, you must make arrangements to serve your spouse.

Your court case will involve several steps each of which may require you to complete and serve required forms, and to prepare and attend before a judge to present your case. Timelines must be followed and your failure to comply with court rules may result in financial penalties. A Family Court proceeding can be complicated and you may be very unhappy with the result if you decide to be your own lawyer.



An experienced Family lawyer can help you successfully navigate your court proceeding. If you are unable to hire a lawyer to represent you through your entire court case, you may want to consult with and retain a lawyer for specific issues and steps. Click here to find a St. Catharines Family lawyer to assist you with your case.

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