If you can’t afford a lawyer

18 Jun 2011 - FAQ 

We are often asked:-

I don’t want to waste money. I can’t afford huge legal fees but I need to use a lawyer. how can I get the best value for money and keep costs down?

A. Having a lawyer saves you from ending  up stuck and  caught up in the same sort of fights with your ex that led to the separation. Even worse, sometimes  people  without legal advice  find themselves agreeing to things that are less than fair.
However costs are obviously an issue.  There are ways to manageyour costs if your law firm is co-operative. Journey Family Lawyers offer a service called ” unbundling” . This means that we are prepared to assist you as you do it yourself)or you can take on some work on your own behalf while we do the tricky legal stuff.

You still have us as lawyers but we can step in and out of your case as you need us.

Perhaps an example will help you understand this concept.

Say you have been served with Court Documents. You need a lawyer to prepare some or all of the documents for you, but don’t don’t necessarily need us to do the photocopying, court filing or arrange service of the documents. Or you might want us to do all those things. You would definitely want a lawyer to go to court for you but may not want to be paying a lawyer to answer tons and tons of correspondence from your ex. So you could ask us to step out of your matter until the time to prepare for the next court date. This is a much better use of your funds.

Unbundling is a concept that has been around for a while in the U S. It is unpopular with most law firms because there is a lot of Ceasing to Act notices and corresponding Notices of Address for service to be filed and it can confuse the Courts and the other side’s lawyers.I even had one lawyer tell me I shouldn’t do it! But Journey Family Lawyers have been doing it for years. It works! And our clients get to use great lawyers no matter that their budget is limited.


4 responses to “If you can’t afford a lawyer”

  1. Maranda says:

    Hi Im a grandmother wanting to spend time with my 3 grandsons my daughter ex has the kids but has taken them out of our lives, my daughter has tried mediation 4 time and everytime he just blows it of the last time she tried he went and they agreed to stuff but he keep changing his mind what can we do tried of waiting

    • Journey Family Lawyers says:

      Hi Maranda,

      If there are still problems in children’s arrangements and mediation has not been sucessful then the next step is applying to Court for an Order regarding your grandchildren and the time they spend with you. An Order will not only set out clearly the when and where of your grandchildren’s time with you but it has formality and it is enforceable.

      In order to apply to Court you will either need to have a “s60I certificate” (the certificates are issued by the mediation provider so you should get in contact with the mediation service you used about whether they will issue a certificate) or alternatively see if you fall within one of the exemptions.

      If you would like to explore applying to Court further, we offer 1 hour Initial Consultation appointments for $275. You can come in and ask questions about the process and costs of applying to Court, what’s likely to happen in terms of the law and ask any questions you have before taking the next steps. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  2. Kevin says:

    Good afternoon,

    I am hoping you can give me advice and point me in the right direction.

    I have a three year old son and have been separated from my ex for a little over two years now and things are starting to get a little difficult.

    Last October she pulled our son out of childcare and has been keeping home ever since. I suggested we go to mediation to try get things sorted and get him back into childcare. So i attended the introduction and then the intake meeting last november only for her to keep postponing her sessions with the relationship centre. Finally in March we had mediation and my ex partner started agreeing on things which were written down and signed by the two of us. However soon as the session finished she started doing the opposite to the agreement we had worked out.

    What can I do to follow this up and make sure she follows the agreement?

    I am also wondering what my chances would be of getting primary care of my son. I work full-time, I have been with the same company for over 10 years and I also own my own home. My ex partner rents and moves between house every 6 months, some times even back with her mother and step father to save some money.

    She has been in and out of jobs for the last 4 years and is currently running her own mobile beauty business.

    My main objective is to see my son return to child care soon as possible as he is starting to fall behind other children his age. If by chance I have any chance of getting primary custody I would love to consider that option as well.

    • Bryan says:



      Unfortunately, your Ex is exhibiting a fairly common course of behaviour. They agree to things in public but then do whatever they want to do because there is no formal rules stopping them. As well, I would expect she will try and do all sorts of things to make it difficult for you to see the child.

      You can try mediation etc however, in the end, I expect you are going to have to bring court proceedings to force some court orders allowing you to spend time with the child. The only way to make sure she sticks to an agreement is to make it enforceable.

      You mention about primary care of the child. Normally I would say that at that age the child is likely to be left with the mother. However, if she is trying to alienate the child and stop you seeing the child, that is actually a ground for a court ordering the child live with you. There is an obligation of both parents to foster the relationship of the other parent with the child. A change of residence from the mother is a serious step but in our experience, where a mother tries to alienate and separate a child from the father, the courts will look at a change in residence (eventually). Of course, to give you a more definite answer, we would need a lot more information and probably need to see you.

      Hope this is of assistance. Let us know if we can assist further.


      Bryan Galvin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.