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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-24-2014, 02:36 AM
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Default Document Preparation - using paralegals or law students?

Does anyone have any experience using services of a paralegal or law student for just document preparation?

I don't need legal representation just help with format and writing style for filling out the necessary forms. I don't want to be penalized on technical grounds in my response to motion to change. Not that his was very well written or filled out correctly... Yet to find out what happens in first appearance to his poorly written and incorrectly filled forms.... But I don't want to make the same mistake.





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Old 01-24-2014, 02:40 AM
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Also, are there any sample forms available to learn to write these things the correct way?


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Old 01-24-2014, 09:01 AM
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My ex used a paralegal for approx. a year. It didn't turn out very well for him as incorrect forms were often used. The document content was poorly written and contained much irrelevant jargon. Documents were always filed in wrong court. I believe he was relying on the paralegals to give legal advice. You may think you are saving money by not retaining a lawyer, the poorly written document may come back to bite you in the butt down the road. Paralegal fees can add up and when you think about it, it's rather expensive for essentially a "cut and paste" product that you will invariably receive. Quality of service might depend upon the background of the paralegal you are contemplating hiring. Many are legal secretaries who had gone off to start their own businesses which is fine but if you go this route be sure that you do your own research and VERIFY any information the paralegal gives to you when you go to file documents at the court house.

People go to law school to learn how to to this properly.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:28 AM
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I'm not sure what the regulations for paralegals are in Alberta.

In Ontario, paralegals may represent a client in court for criminal charges, and are trained to do so. Of course, these are usually lesser charges, like a tavern struggle or a criminal level drunk driving charge. However, they are qualified and many are experienced. Paralegals may also work as Crown Attorneys. They are also qualified in many other civil matters. They receive thorough training to complete their education, and are tested by the Law Society.

They are not permitted to represent for Family Law, and as such are usually unfamiliar with Family Law Rules, forms, case law, etc., unless they happen to have been through divorce themselves.

If you need help with forms, talk to the clerks at the courthouse, the duty counsel, and FLIC. One of the most important things about wording is understanding what is relevant to your case, how to frame an argument, what constitutes factual support, and when you are going way off topic with pointless remarks.

I've found that junior lawyers don't necessarily spot important lines of argument, or see the long term effects of a particular wording.

In the end, it is your life, your future, your past, your children. You have to think things through and not just depend on someone else. An hour with a senior lawyer can be worth 20 hours with a junior lawyer.
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