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Self-Representation In Ontario Family Court

Many people find themselves in the Ontario family court system every day. With so many families having to go through the system to resolve their issues, one might think it is straightforward. It is not. Family law is complicated, with significant and irrevocable consequences for everyone involved.

Prior to entering legal practice, I had a challenging experience as a self-represented litigant in the family law system. I represented myself at 26 motions, three attempts by the opposing side to appeal and a four-week trial. That experience was an invaluable precursor to my career as a family lawyer. From that experience and my later work assisting self-represented people in family law matters as a student lawyer, I have learned why a lawyer is necessary. My family law practice in Toronto, operating as Kathryn L. Smithen, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public, was started in part as a resource to assist those who, realistically, cannot do it themselves.

How A Lawyer Helps

For many of the central issues in family law litigation, getting it right the first time prevents a significant amount of stress, time and expense. A lawyer is able to step back, look at your situation from a legal and rational perspective, and advise you accordingly what the law is and what you can reasonably expect a court to order. Legal proceedings are much more complex than is implied by prime-time television or in movies. A lawyer knows the technical requirements, but also has the wisdom to know when to make an argument and when to stop speaking altogether. One of my favourite sayings is: "The best lawyer knows when to talk and when to sit down and literally shut up."

A lawyer has the training and strategic knowledge that will both lead to a favourable outcome in your case and minimize friction with the other side. Only a lawyer can look at your situation with the emotional distance required to effectively strategize, negotiate and represent your interests.

Contact Me For Advice For Self-Represented Litigants

When you are entering the legal system to make important choices about your family, you should not go it alone. I can help you during the separation and divorce process and, as circumstances change, with the renegotiation or enforcement of support or custody arrangements.

To schedule an appointment for advice regarding self-representation in Ontario family court, contact my office online or by calling 647-496-2765, 800-392-9043 toll free.


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About Kathryn L. Smithen

As your advocate, I will do what it takes to help you understand and deal with the pressures of the process. I will speak, negotiate and advocate on your behalf to help minimize your stress in addition to resolving your legal dispute. I will be caring and sensitive. As your lawyer, I will always tailor my approach to meet your specific needs.

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