When dealing with family law issues in Toronto, you will notice that both lawyers and paralegals are available to deal with your issues. There are differences between the these professionals which may be somewhat confusing.
A Toronto divorce attorney is an individual who has attended and graduated from law school, has completed a period of articling, and has passed the Ontario bar exams. Further, a Toronto divorce attorney is both insured and licensed under the Law Society of Upper Canada. All lawyers in Ontario have the ability to practice any area of law. Lawyers describing themselves as “Divorce Lawyers” or “Divorce Attorneys” should have experience in family law and a full and conversant knowledge of, amongst other things, the Ontario Family Law Act, the Divorce Act and the Family Law Rules. Having a divorce attorney on your side ensures that your rights are represented within the Superior Court, Court of Appeal, and even the Supreme Court of Canada. A divorce attorney will ensure you are represented fairly and your rights are protected at all times.
If cost is a concern, then utilizing a paralegal will ensure you receive the best bang for your buck! A paralegal is an individual who has graduated from a paralegal program. In Toronto this program is a recognized as a certificate accomplishment. Paralegals as well as divorce attorneys are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Paralegals are only able to represent clients in court through Small Claims Court; this means that a divorce file will only be represented in court through the use of a divorce attorney.
Many Toronto divorce attorneys will have a paralegal available to help when it comes to a variety of things such as drafting pleadings, answering your day to day questions and relaying various communications. A paralegal’s hourly rate is generally far lower than an attorney’s rate. When it comes to booking appointments or simple questions it is best to deal with a paralegal if he or she is available.