Is a Legal Coach Right For You?
If you are intimidated by the idea of filing for divorce, or representing yourself in court, a legal coach might just fit the bill. Legal coaching is a cost effective way to help people who are representing themselves in a legal matter, but still need an expert opinion about their rights.
What is a Legal Coach?
Legal coaches are lawyers who work with the self-represented to provide them with the specialist knowledge they need on demand. A coach can provide direction, explain rules and procedure, and be available when those tricky questions arise.
Legal coaching is new in B.C. and Canada and only offered by a limited number of lawyers. However, it provides the couple going to mediation with a cost effective alternative to hiring lawyers. This is particularly useful in preparing parties for a mediation session with their ex-partner, or other opposing party. Preparation for mediation can involve not only emotional support, and communication advice, but also a review of rights and responsibilities under BC and Canadian law.
In most cases, lawyers are not required at mediation. The goal of mediation is to help the separating couple made their own decisions based upon their individual family needs. Lawyers can sometimes focus too much on peoples “rights” while ignoring what they “need”.
Can I really Represent Myself in My Divorce?
You have a right to be self-represented. Most people are better educated now than they were 30 years ago. Tools and information found on the internet can really prepare you for self-representation. However, there are limitations. Think of it like working on your car. You can quickly pick up the skills to change the oil, but would put yourself in serious danger if you decided to re-do the brakes. This is where legal coaching comes.
A key advantage of using a legal coach is that they can keep you on track. They will help you develop your own advocacy skills. They can prepare research and case law. They will ensure that you comply with the dreaded Rules of Court. In short, they are there to help you if you stumble, and there to help prevent stumbles in the first place.
How Much Do Legal Coaches Cost?
Legal coaches charge between $350 and $500 per hour. You buy their time in 15 minutes block. If you will be needing service coverage for a few months, most legal coaches will offer packages which are discounted by 10-20%.
Legal coaches are a pay as you go service. This means there is no large cost up front. You buy an hour of their time and when that is used up, you have the choice of buying a further hour. You do not have to fear a nasty bill at the end of the month. You can also cancel at anytime if you feel the service is not right for you.
Legal coaches are not for everyone, but if you are self-represented, it is something to consider.
Lawyer, Mediator, Arbitrator, Parenting Coordinator