There’s more than one way to work with a family lawyer.

Separating spouses have some significant expenses in that first year of separation (moving from one home into two homes, counselling, doubling-up on things like cars and other assets that may have been shared, dividing retirement savings, etc.)  Add to that the cost of retaining a lawyer to assist with the legal aspects of the separation and it can be overwhelming and prohibitive, even for families who otherwise live comfortably.

Many lawyers and law firms offer “unbundled services” or “Limited Scope Retainers” which offer an array of options outside of the all-or-nothing approach to working with a lawyer.

Every client has different legal needs.  Unbundled legal services fit an individual client’s needs and budget.  A limited scope retainer is a retainer in which the lawyer or law firm is hired to assist with some aspects of the legal matter.  These can include:

  • Providing legal advice for clients who are in court, mediation or negotiations;
  • Drafting pleadings for court;
  • Drafting agreements;
  • Drafting letters;
  • Attending at specific court appearances or negotiations;
  • Helping a client prepare for trial; or
  • Preparing financial statements and financial disclosure (often at a law clerk’s rate which is much lower than a lawyer’s rate).

Lawyers and clients will need to have an honest discussion about budget, needs and expectations so the scope of work is very clear at the outset.  Lawyers (being…lawyers) will put this in writing.

If the cost of separation is becoming a source of stress talk to your lawyer about how unbundled legal services might help alleviate at least some of the financial burden.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have questions about any of our services.  You can learn more about us at