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Divorcing without assistance of lawyer may not go as planned

The thought of hiring a lawyer is scary to many in Alberta. For a variety of reasons—including the expense—residents of the province may be tempted to resolve a legal matter on their own, without the benefit of legal counsel. While people facing a variety of legal matters might opt for this approach, it may be particularly popular where family law matters--such as divorce--are concerned.

According to one statistic, in Alberta, since 2006, the number of people seeking a divorce who opt to represent themselves is up 121 percent. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, or seemingly be the only financial option, many who decide to go this route could find they are facing a lot of fear and anxiety.

This approach is taking a toll on the system as well. According to one justice, the over sharing of information that is not relevant to the case, by litigants that represent themselves, is dragging out the amount of time it takes to resolve a case. In turn, this ends up increasing the expense of the case.

In addition, self-represented litigants could face a high rate of cases being thrown out via summary judgment motions, and motions to strike, filed by opposing counsel.

Not everyone sets out to represent themselves in a divorce. In a study conducted, a law professor found more than 50 percent of the cases she looked at where litigants were representing themselves, commenced with the assistance of a lawyer.

These are just a few of the reasons why the knowledge a family law lawyer can bring to the resolution of a divorce matter should not be overlooked.

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