In over 40% of the family law cases that go to court in British Columbia, people are not represented by a lawyer. Most people “go it alone” because they simply cannot afford a lawyer. With unbundling, you get the help of a professional where you need it most, at a cost you can afford.

With unbundling, you hire a lawyer for part of your matter

Hiring a lawyer to handle a legal matter from start to finish can get expensive. Especially if court is involved.

Instead of hiring a lawyer to handle your entire case, you can hire a lawyer to handle specific parts. Doing so “unbundles” these tasks from the parts you can do yourself.

For example, if you’re going to court, you can hire a lawyer to help you prepare documents or to coach you on how to present your case.

Unbundling means getting professional legal help isn’t all or nothing. You can get supported where it makes the most impact.

Edna from Richmond

“During my divorce, I couldn’t afford a lawyer to represent me. With unbundling, I hired a lawyer to help me get ready for a settlement conference. I got the result I was hoping for. And it wasn’t as stressful as I feared.”

Edna, Richmond, BC

Unbundling lowers the cost of hiring a lawyer

By completing some tasks yourself, the costs are lower than when a lawyer does everything for you. With a lawyer, you can develop a budget and spend your money on the tasks you need the most help with.

For example, if you’re involved in a mediation, you can hire a lawyer to provide legal advice before the mediation, during the mediation, or to draft a binding agreement after mediation. These options are much less expensive than having a lawyer represent you throughout the mediation process.

By paying only for the legal services you can afford, unbundling helps you manage your finances as you’re dealing with your legal problem.

Learn About Legal Aid

Consider legal aid

Legal aid is available for some unbundled services in family matters. If you have a family law matter that affects your financial security, you may be eligible.
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You stay involved, and in control

With unbundling, you remain in control of your legal matter. You are responsible for any tasks you don’t hire a lawyer to help with. But you have the assistance of a professional where you need it most.

Collaborate with an experienced legal professional

To get started, you and the lawyer meet to discuss how to address your legal problem. Together, you identify what needs to be done. You choose the tasks you want help with and the ones you will handle on your own.

To create a plan designed for you

Working as a team, you and your lawyer create a plan designed for your unique situation. The approach is flexible. You can tailor the plan to your needs, including your budget and comfort level with managing your own case.

A wide range of legal services can be unbundled

With unbundling, a lawyer can help with a wide range of services. Here are some examples.

They can provide advice by:

  • providing an opinion on the merits of your case
  • providing strategic advice on your case (including options to resolve it)

  • providing advice on an agreement or other legal document before you sign it

They can help with documents by:

  • drafting specific documents, such as an affidavit, a letter to the other side, or an agreement
  • reviewing your draft of a document
  • helping you organize your documents

They can coach you on how to:

  • file court documents

  • handle yourself in a mediation or negotiation

They can represent you:

  • in court for one application or hearing

  • during a mediation

Family law services can be unbundled

Unbundling can help with all sorts of legal matters that impact families. Family law issues are uniquely personal. Insight and guidance from a knowledgeable and compassionate family lawyer can be invaluable as you go through a family breakup.

There are many approaches to resolving a family breakup with unbundled legal help, such as negotiation, mediation, collaborative law and uncontested divorce. You can discuss with your lawyer the approach best suited to your goals and legal needs.

When you stop living with your child’s other parent, you have important decisions to make about how you’re going to care for the child. With unbundling, your lawyer can explain the options and help you put together a game plan to identify the best parenting arrangements for your child.

In family breakup cases, support is money that one person pays another to help with expenses. With unbundling, a lawyer can provide a legal opinion on whether spousal support would be appropriate in your case. If there are children, a lawyer can advise on options to ensure the child receives the appropriate amount of child support.

On family breakup, when a couple have property, they have to decide how it will be shared between them. With unbundling, a lawyer can help you understand how property is divided, and help you negotiate a settlement.

With unbundling, you can get the help of a family lawyer in navigating the court system. For example, the lawyer can coach you on how to prepare documents, help you put together your speaking notes for a court hearing, or attend a family mediation or arbitration hearing with you.

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Explore further

Learn whether unbundling is a good fit for you and your situation. Try our unbundling self-assessment.
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Find a Lawyer

Finding a lawyer

Over 200 lawyers in British Columbia offer unbundled legal services in family law matters. 
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