The reality is that not everyone who needs to start or respond to a court case can afford to be represented by a lawyer throughout the process.
Legal Representation at No Cost
Legal Aid lawyers can act for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer and who need assistance with a family law case. Legal Aid can assist people dealing with parenting orders, child support and spousal support issues, as well as divorce applications. They will not, however, deal with matters related to the division of family property. You will generally be eligible if you are:
- receiving social assistance
- receiving band assistance
- a low income worker
If you cannot afford a lawyer and you do not qualify for Legal Aid you may be able to get free legal help through Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan.
Unbundled Legal Services
Some people may not want or be able to hire a lawyer to handle all aspects of their case. Some lawyers offer unbundled services. This means they agree to only do certain things for you. Common things that people use unbundled legal services for are:
- completing court forms that the person files themselves
- making a court appearance
- limited legal advice (e.g. about an agreement to divide family property)
- legal coaching to help people represent themselves
People sign an agreement with their lawyer that outlines exactly what the client wants the lawyer to do for them. This is usually called a retainer agreement. Most lawyers charge by the hour so the cost will depend on how long it takes to provide the services you requested. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for certain services. These are things that you can discuss with the lawyer who is offering the services before you sign the agreement.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan has a 'find a legal assistance' tool you can use. If you cannot afford full representation you can search for a lawyers with different service models, pricing and payment methods. The Law Society also has a pilot project that allows certain non-lawyers to perform some specific legal tasks.
When people need to take a case to court without help from a lawyer there are self-help tools they can use. However, it is important to remember that these cannot replace legal advice.
The Form Wizard on this site can help individuals who must start or respond to a family law case in Saskatchewan without the assistance of a lawyer. You access the Form Wizard by creating a free account on this site. This is just so the system can keep track of your progress. Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) is a non-profit, non-government organization and, like all PLEA’s services and resources, the Form Wizard can be used by anyone free-of-charge.
You will answer plain-language interview style questions and this information will be used to create the court forms you need. Throughout the process you will be provided with explanations of questions and links back to relevant parts of the information on Family Law Saskatchewan. PLEA also provides email support if you need help using the Form Wizard.
Family Law Information Centre
Self-Help Kits for starting and responding to family law cases are available from the Family Law Information Centre of the Saskatchewan Government. The Family Law Information Centre also provides free legal information to individuals dealing with a family law case on their own.