Legal aid is a program that gives low-income Canadians the ability to access legal services. It provides help for cases regarding criminal charges, immigration and refugee issues, mental health matters, domestic violence and more. By providing services such as legal advice, representation, duty counsel, online help and referrals, the program assists and supports individuals facing disadvantages.
In order to find out if you qualify you must first take a financial eligibility test. The results of your test determines if the program will help pay for your legal representation. Depending on your situation, legal aid could provide the support you need to get through divorce, but what exactly is required to qualify?
Eligibility In Ontario
Legal aid services and qualifications for eligibility differ based on the province you live in. To qualify in Ontario you must meet the guidelines can be found on legalaid.on.ca/
What Cases Are Covered?
Legal Aid Ontario only grants certificates for certain cases. When determining if an individual qualifies they look for things such as:
– Domestic violence
– The complexity of the case
– Setbacks related to literacy issues
– Cases where support is being paid by a self-employed individual
How Much Will Be Covered?
LAO is designed to cover all lawyer costs if you receive a legal aid certificate. In order to get a certificate, you must show that you have low income within your application (you can find the LAO’s financial eligibility rules at www.legalaid.on.ca/). The certificate also permits your lawyer to ask for more hours if necessary for your case.
It is important to note that depending on your financial situation, some or all of your legal fees may need to be repaid. In most cases, this is only necessary if you have received financial help as part of a settlement or if you have assets such as a house. In these cases you will be required to sign a “contribution agreement” which states that you agree to pay back the money received.
Legal Aid recognizes the needs of low-income individuals and provides services they need to be properly represented in court. If your financial situation poses a direct disadvantage to your divorce process, legal aid may be able to provide promising services for you.
What If You Don’t Qualify?
If you don’t qualify you can still receive legal assistance. Most Lawyers offer services on a limited scope retainers.
At Hussain Law, we accept Legal Aid Certificates and provide services on Limited Scope Retainers.
At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.