What to Know about Self-Representation in Family Court

  • Home 
  • Blog 
  • What to Know about Self-Representation in Family Court 

What to Know about Self-Representation in Family Court

In movies and television shows, we often see married couples file for divorce with a lawyer that could best represent them in family court. However, in reality, many people would prefer to handle their own divorce procedures or other family law-related issues on their own, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this is because they lack the resources to employ family law specialists as attorneys. 

Having no financial means to hire a divorce lawyer or family mediator gives people the idea that  they can handle their own divorce cases or other family law-related issues. Unfortunately, it is never a good plan to represent oneself in a family law matter, despite the potential financial rewards.

Read on to discover more about self-representation in family court today.

The Non-Enforceable Separation Agreements

Self-represented separation agreements run the risk of being ruled invalid if they are contested, especially if they were written without full financial transparency. Either side may depart from the terms of the contract if the agreement is not properly carried out. If one of the parties was coerced into signing the agreement, did not fully understand its provisions, or was not aware of its legal rights, it is possible that the agreement will not be upheld. If the separation agreement has been authorized by the independent counsel of both parties and is supported by adequate financial disclosure, it will have a much better chance of being upheld in the event that one of the parties disputes the validity of the agreement. 

The Risk of the Lack of Legal Expertise

We all know that the legal counsel with less expertise on the matter is likelier to make mistakes that more experienced counsel can easily avoid. This is why self-representation is bound to be a big hurdle.

Without legal counsel, a person runs the risk of making errors that jeopardize their rights and have catastrophic, irrevocable effects on their family's legal case. Legal documents may be subject to stringent deadlines, and orders and agreements regarding parenting time or child support may be final and difficult to modify. Strict time constraints may apply to divorce decisions as well. Instead of attempting to correct a mistake yourself, hiring an attorney to do the job properly from the start might be more cost-effective.

The Professional of a Real Lawyer Preserves Families

Under the Divorce Act, it is the duty of every legal adviser who undertakes to act on a person’s behalf to encourage the person to resolve the matters through a family dispute resolution process, unless the circumstance of the case is of such a nature that it would clearly not be appropriate to do so. Additionally, lawyers have a duty to inform their clients about the family justice services that are accessible to assist them in resolving disputes or adhering to Act orders and decisions. 

Family law specialists have similar responsibilities. Your lawyer must operate in accordance with your wishes if you do not give them specific instructions to escalate the family dispute. Remembering that clients have the right to fire their lawyers at any time is crucial.

If you're concerned that employing a lawyer will create strife in your otherwise harmonious family, you can relax knowing that this won't happen if you work with a skilled family attorney. 


Indeed, there are heavy risks to not doing things the right way, especially in family-related cases. Cases such as divorce and family disputes are best handled by professional family law attorneys. Without legal expertise, one may cause families to fall apart–which is the worst result of all family cases.

Are you in need of a family mediation lawyer in Medicine Hat? Hamilton Cahoon is a team of lawyers that are experienced in a range of legal matters, such as family law. Contact us today to get to know about our legal practice.