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Separation. Divorce. Child Custody and Access. Child Support. Spousal Support. Division of Property and Assets.

Can I Represent Myself During My Divorce Proceeding?

Yes, you can represent yourself during your divorce proceeding. There is no legal requirement or obligation to have a lawyer with you at any stage of your divorce.

There is a lot of information available online and at various courthouses to help you with your legal proceedings. Make sure you rely on information that is relevant to your specific jurisdiction and up-to-date, since family law rules vary from province to province and are subject to change. For example, unmarried cohabiting spouses in Ontario are not entitled to some remedies that are available only to married spouses, such as equalization of family property. This is in contrast to British Columbia where, since 2013, couples who have lived together in a “marriage-like relationship for a continuous period of at least two years” share the same legal rights as married couples.

It is highly recommended that you retain a lawyer for your divorce, especially if you have outstanding issues regarding child custody/access or child support. At a minimum, have a consultation with a qualified family law lawyer in your province. Even if the consultation is brief, the lawyer will be able to point out some important legislative provisions and rules that are particularly relevant to your case and your facts. A lawyer can also help you identify what steps you should be taking in order to protect yourself and your legal position.

Links to helpful Ontario family law resources