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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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  #1  
Old 01-17-2022, 10:29 PM
Hide on Bush Hide on Bush is offline
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Default Representation from a Non-Lawyer

Good day everyone,

I have been following these forums for awhile when I helped my spouse in 2019 through her Case Conference and I have the utmost respect for the help so many people here have chosen to provide. Now it’s time for me to be the one to ask.

My Wife is currently going through a rough court process (mentally). This will be the 3rd engagement of the Family Court, second since I’ve been apart of her life.

My Wife, unfortunately, is over the threshold for legal aid but between the two of us, we cannot afford a lawyer. We are currently at a point where her ex had filed a motion to change and through consent, we all agreed to request OCL involvement prior to a case conference. The judge agreed with this. Right now we are just waiting for OCL to accept the case.

There is a history of IPV dating a decade ago with zero evidence to prove it (no police or doctor report). Although useless in court, it has created an atmosphere of extreme anxiety and depression when my Wife has to be in the presence of her ex. Due to us being unable to afford a lawyer nor legal aid, my Wife had asked for me to represent her despite me not being a lawyer (I’m a police detective).

I am very well aware of the fact that I am not a lawyer, nor does my experience with criminal law in any way qualify me to act as legal counsel to my wife. But in saying that, through research, limited experience and through consultation with free legal sessions, it is clear that a lawyer isn’t very “necessary” until trial. What my wife is essentially looking for is for me to be her voice as I can keep emotions out of the court room, I am more versed in the family law rules and the rules of the court room (compared to her) and her points will be able to be articulated better through me without the added anxiety from her ex. In my opinion, it’s a fair request that her actions as a mother, and her ability to provide and act in the best interest of my step-son, shouldn’t be judged on her ability to compose herself in front of an abuser.

I had consulted with duty counsel on the process as which time they suggested an ex-parte motion based on a previous documented instance where her ex’s bombarded her with various documents such as:

- 7 Requests to Admit

- 14 Affidavits

- an unsigned motion regarding a claim of contempt because she was 5 minutes late to drop of son; and

- a Request for Information

all before a Case Conference date was set. My wife hired a lawyer and when it went to the Case Conference, the conference judge apparently slammed the ex’s lawyer for doing that as it was a clear tactic to make my Wife a lawyer. Anyways, a ex-parte motion was submitted and we received a motion hearing where the ex and his lawyer were invited (Don't understand this). I wasn't permitted to be present. The judge asked if they consented in which they said no. The judge said that the motion wouldn't be decided on until after a case conference.

Is there anything we can do to rectify this matter? My Wife will be fine at the Case Conference because I told her, and showed her the posts on here, that nothing will be accomplished at the CC because she doesn’t consent to any of the things her ex is bringing. A giant change from her last CC when the judge said both parties were not allowed to leave until they consented to matters. 4 hours later, a new order on consent was drafted because she didn’t know, and her lawyer didn’t tell her, she didn’t need to consent to anything she didn’t want to.

I know parties being represented by non-lawyers is frowned upon greatly here and I know I can’t articulate the fact that I know the limits of my capabilities within Family Law, but the only other option will be my Wife representing herself all the way through to a trial.

Is there anything I can do to be able to represent my wife in this matter outside of magically becoming a lawyer?
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2022, 10:32 AM
Brampton33 Brampton33 is offline
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This is of little help to your questions, but a few thoughts.
1) There are MANY people like you. Don't qualify for legal aid, but cannot afford a lawyer.
2) You may wish to consider getting a lawyer on limited scope retainer. Someone who you can tap on the shoulder when needed. And someone who can step in if there is a motion filed on the route to trial. Someone who can act as your ILA.
3) You mention trial and lack of financial resources. I am sure you are aware that trial is $75k+. If you don't settle enroute, you are bluffing and the other side will catch on that you will fold walking into trial
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Old 01-18-2022, 12:01 PM
pinkHouses pinkHouses is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
Is there anything I can do to be able to represent my wife in this matter outside of magically becoming a lawyer?
This is the relevant ask of the post. (I don't think so but wait for others).

The important item right now and this is the only thing in my opinion:
"How to avoid having OCL making things a mess and what to do to increase the chances of a favorable report"
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2022, 12:57 PM
Hide on Bush Hide on Bush is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkHouses View Post
This is the relevant ask of the post. (I don't think so but wait for others).

The important item right now and this is the only thing in my opinion:
"How to avoid having OCL making things a mess and what to do to increase the chances of a favorable report"
I agree the focus should be around OCL. My only personal worry is my step-son being shy around the assessors and maybe not expressing the same issues he has mentioned to his counsellors.

I figured if we keep everything based on proven material rather than hearsay and encourage my step-son to speak his mind (without coaching him what to say) we should be alright. The Father’s claims are solely based on hearsay. I submitted a Request to Admit and asked him if it was factual that the only source of his claims are through a third party in which he said was true. He has also failed to submit any affidavits substantiating his claims so I personally don’t think he has anything proof to back up what he’s claiming.

As such, I can’t personally see OCL removing such a large status quo based solely on hearsay and with a child who is quite adamant about not wanting to spend time with his father.
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2022, 12:59 PM
Hide on Bush Hide on Bush is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brampton33 View Post
This is of little help to your questions, but a few thoughts.
1) There are MANY people like you. Don't qualify for legal aid, but cannot afford a lawyer.
2) You may wish to consider getting a lawyer on limited scope retainer. Someone who you can tap on the shoulder when needed. And someone who can step in if there is a motion filed on the route to trial. Someone who can act as your ILA.
3) You mention trial and lack of financial resources. I am sure you are aware that trial is $75k+. If you don't settle enroute, you are bluffing and the other side will catch on that you will fold walking into trial
We won’t fold walking into trial, my wife will represent herself and I will do my best to help. We literally cannot afford counsel. We are both paycheck to paycheck right now.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2022, 01:23 PM
Kinso Kinso is offline
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I agree with the above comment to get a lawyer on limited scope. Even just a 1 hour phone call here and there can save tons in avoidable (and costly) mistakes. Make a list of your questions before your call and use your time effectively.

Family Law Rules - 4(1)(c) allows a non-lawyer to represent a party in family court, with the court's permission.It is rarely granted. But if you motion for the court to permit your involvement, this would allow you to speak on your wife's behalf.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2022, 01:26 PM
Hide on Bush Hide on Bush is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinso View Post
Family Law Rules - 4(1)(c) allows a non-lawyer to represent a party in family court, with the court's permission.It is rarely granted. But if you motion for the court to permit your involvement, this would allow you to speak on your wife's behalf.
Tried this but opposing counsel objected to it so judge stated they would not make an order about it until after a CC.
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Old 01-20-2022, 01:43 PM
StillPaying StillPaying is offline
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Being her 3rd rodeo, I doubt you'll be allowed and I'm sure she'll be fine. Help her prepare, write, study, but let her get comfortable talking at conferences so she's actually ready for motions and trial.

Was your spouse charged or reported to CAS. What are the issues?
Based on the ex-party motion, I'm lost, I would say let your wife handle it.
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2022, 02:46 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StillPaying View Post
Being her 3rd rodeo, I doubt you'll be allowed and I'm sure she'll be fine. Help her prepare, write, study, but let her get comfortable talking at conferences so she's actually ready for motions and trial.

Was your spouse charged or reported to CAS. What are the issues?
Based on the ex-party motion, I'm lost, I would say let your wife handle it.

Agree with this.

Heres the thingyou love your wife and want to protect her but in this instance she needs to do this herself. If its the third time around she should a) know the situation and b) understand the potential outcomes. She should also be seeing a therapist about her issues with her ex husbands abuse. If this is the third go round and she hasnt spoken to someone, she should. It sounds like her ex wants to continue to control her.

Taking a step back isnt easy. My husband was unemployed and had to pay for a lawyer and went into debt as a result. He hired a lawyer because he knew he couldnt do it alone. You and your wife may need to have a frank financial discussion about the cost/benefit aspect. Especially if her ex is going to continue to motion. But at the end of the day this is her issue and getting yourself so involved that you want to represent her in court is not a good idea.
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  #10  
Old 01-21-2022, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
My Wife is currently going through a rough court process (mentally). This will be the 3rd engagement of the Family Court, second since I’ve been apart of her life.
"3rd Engagement"?

Third motion, third case conference, third appearance or third trial.

Big difference. People on here have been "before the court" in case conferences, motions and trials a lot more than three (3) times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
My Wife, unfortunately, is over the threshold for legal aid but between the two of us, we cannot afford a lawyer.
Yet, you claim to be a "police detective". When I pulled Sunshine list in Ontario its average of 128,000 for your position. RCMP wasn't far off. Other only force would be with the military (police) and still pays incredibly well.

Very confusing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
We are currently at a point where her ex had filed a motion to change and through consent, we all agreed to request OCL involvement prior to a case conference. The judge agreed with this. Right now we are just waiting for OCL to accept the case.
I wouldn't wish the OCL on anyone. They are no silver bullet or magic wand. Remember both parties are being investigated by the OCL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
There is a history of IPV dating a decade ago with zero evidence to prove it (no police or doctor report).
Weird comment from a "police officer". This claim is like me alleging you pulled over a black person and assaulted them but, I have no evidence of you doing it. See, that would be a "allegation"... Probably a "false" one. I therefor have "anxiety" with you because you are a police officer and someone told me that you assault black people.

I don't buy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
Although useless in court
And this forum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
it has created an atmosphere of extreme anxiety and depression when my Wife has to be in the presence of her ex.
Suffice to say, I don't buy the BS. The court house is the safe. With everything being online now... Its even safer. Mental health support would be better for her than you being her lawyer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
Due to us being unable to afford a lawyer nor legal aid, my Wife had asked for me to represent her despite me not being a lawyer (I’m a police detective).
It won't happen. You won't be granted the opportunity to represent her. Even if you were a LaWyEr you still wouldn't be able to represent her. You are a "police detective" you make over six figures. Hire a lawyer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
I am very well aware of the fact that I am not a lawyer, nor does my experience with criminal law in any way qualify me to act as legal counsel to my wife.
Your experience is a peace officer. To be frank... You are not an officer of the court...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
But in saying that, through research, limited experience and through consultation with free legal sessions, it is clear that a lawyer isn’t very “necessary” until trial.
You'd be surprised... I would recommend you get one. Just from your writing here and "white knight" / "savior" approach taken... You are going to make a real mess of this file for the child involved and both parents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
What my wife is essentially looking for is for me to be her voice as I can keep emotions out of the court room, I am more versed in the family law rules and the rules of the court room (compared to her) and her points will be able to be articulated better through me without the added anxiety from her ex.
Your wife needs a lawyer. You need a financial consultant to help you figure out why someone making six figures can't afford a lawyer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
In my opinion, it’s a fair request that her actions as a mother, and her ability to provide and act in the best interest of my step-son, shouldn’t be judged on her ability to compose herself in front of an abuser.
Actually, it is not a fair request. The fair request would be for a police officer who is paid probably over six figures to hire a lawyer for his family member as every other family that is in the 1-2% of income earners do.

Get a lawyer. Stop playing poor and abused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
I had consulted with duty counsel on the process as which time they suggested an ex-parte motion based on a previous documented instance where her ex’s bombarded her with various documents such as:

- 7 Requests to Admit

- 14 Affidavits

- an unsigned motion regarding a claim of contempt because she was 5 minutes late to drop of son; and

- a Request for Information
Bullshit. 100% bullshit. None of that is grounds to break someone's chartered right to stand before the court and defend themselves. A motion where the other party is not given notice and not provided an opportunity to defend themselves is VERY VERY serious stuff. You basically tainted everything going forward.

See... The expectations on the presentment of evidence for an ex-party motion is that it is "fact" and "beyond reasonable doubt".

This failure will haunt the file forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
My wife hired a lawyer and when it went to the Case Conference, the conference judge apparently slammed the ex’s lawyer for doing that as it was a clear tactic to make my Wife a lawyer. Anyways, a ex-parte motion was submitted and we received a motion hearing where the ex and his lawyer were invited (Don't understand this). I wasn't permitted to be present. The judge asked if they consented in which they said no. The judge said that the motion wouldn't be decided on until after a case conference.
And YOU want to represent your wife... Read that jumble of nonsense... You dopn't understand why your wife's "ex-party" motion failed, got crapped on by the judge... why you were not permitted in the motion... Yet, you want to represent her?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
Is there anything we can do to rectify this matter?
You can make an offer to settle that is reasonable...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
My Wife will be fine at the Case Conference because I told her, and showed her the posts on here, that nothing will be accomplished at the CC because she doesn’t consent to any of the things her ex is bringing. A giant change from her last CC when the judge said both parties were not allowed to leave until they consented to matters. 4 hours later, a new order on consent was drafted because she didn’t know, and her lawyer didn’t tell her, she didn’t need to consent to anything she didn’t want to.
Blame the lawyer game... Common pattern... I call BS...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GIS-0161 View Post
Is there anything I can do to be able to represent my wife in this matter outside of magically becoming a lawyer?
Even if you were a lawyer you couldn't represent your wife.

You can stop filing nonsense, hurling false allegations, playing poor or possibly lying about your employment, trying to get sympathetic support, get your wife mental health support and realize you are not the "white knight" or "savior". You may find yourself in deeper financial debts and having more of your 6 figure salary being drained from your nonsense.
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