Legal aid | legal advice

legal aid divorceLegal aid in divorce matters is available under certain conditions and is meant for those individuals who are unable to afford legal representation.

To qualify for legal aid in a divorce you are required to undergo the legal aid means test designed to determine your ability or inability to afford legal representation, which amount is set by the legal aid board. Qualification for legal aid does not simply revolve around your earnings but also looks at things like assets which can be easily liquidated in order to raise money to cover legal expenses.

Legal aid is generally not available in maintenance matters where there is a reasonable possibility that the maintenance dispute can be dealt with and settled by a maintenance officer.

Legal aid for divorce matters is available subject to certain exclusions which will be decided by the legal aid board based on you application for legal aid in a divorce matter. Before you submit an application for legal aid in a divorce, be sure that none of the following situations apply to you.

  • There is a reasonable possibility of a reconciliation between you and your spouse.
  • You have not made a significant effort to reach an agreement with your spouse.
  • You have previously been granted legal aid in a divorce and did not go ahead with the divorce proceedings.
  • You do not have any children with your spouse.

If any of the above apply to you, you do not qualify for legal aid in a divorce matter.

Legal aid offices are present in every province and every magistrates court has a legal aid officer who will be able to assist with any questions you have relating to your eligibility for legal aid in any matter, not only legal aid for divorce matters. These officers will offer you some legal advice regarding the procedures and documentation relating to your application. If the legal aid officer is satisfied that you are eligible under the means test method, you will be appointed an attorney by legal aid who will then deal with your matter.

Legal advice on legal aid matters is also available from most Universities that operate legal advice clinics or in fact have a legal aid officer on site.