Toronto Family Lawyers - Independent Legal Advice

Find A Toronto Family Lawyer For Independent Legal Advice

Toronto Family Lawyer - Independent Legal Advice

What Is Independent Legal Advice (ILA)?

Independent legal advice, or ILA for short, is exactly what it sounds like: independent legal advice from a Toronto Family Lawyer to you. Essentially, it is a private conversation between a Toronto Family Lawyer and their client, which they have about the nature and effect of entering into a domestic contract. In this case, a domestic contract can refer to a prenuptial agreement (prenups), a separation agreement, cohabitation agreement, paternity agreements, marriage contracts, or any other type of agreement that deals with martial affairs, property, children, and support. Some common examples of situations where ILA might be needed by a client are:

  • When a person who is unrepresented (doesn’t have a lawyer) is involved in a legal family law matter, such as the negotiation of a domestic contract.
  • When the couple are involved in family law mediation, and the mediator drafts an agreement outlining the terms of the domestic contract that will bind the couple.
  • When a conflict of interest arises between the lawyer and his/her client, the lawyer has a positive legal duty to avoid any such conflict by ceasing to represent and/or advise that client. However, an exception to that rule exists where the client, who’s been made aware of the conflict of interest by the lawyer, seeks independent legal advice from another lawyer regarding the conflict. In such a situation, the first lawyer may continue to act for the client.

At LawyerSelect.ca, we work with some of the best Toronto Family Lawyers who specialize in providing clients with sound independent legal advice on their family law matters. Contact us now for a free referral to a top Toronto Family Lawyer.

What Is Involved In Giving Independent Legal Advice?

First and foremost, the lawyer providing ILA needs to fully understand the context which gives rise to the need for ILA. That means the client will have to provide the Toronto Family Lawyer with the agreement/contract to review, fully explain the transaction in question, as well as the circumstances that led up to the drafting of the agreement/contract. The client should then explain to the Toronto Family Lawyer what they believe the agreement/contract to mean and represent, which in turn, should prompt the lawyer to review the entire agreement/contract line-by-line with the client, and fully explain each term.


The Toronto Family Lawyer will also need to fully explore the client’s obligations under the agreement/contract, as well as the client’s rights under the contract. For example, if the agreement/contract articulates a specific amount of spousal support (right), as well as a positive duty on the client to do or refrain from doing something (obligation), those will need to be fully explored and explained by the Toronto Family Lawyer to the client. An example of an obligation here would be to vacate the matrimonial home by a certain date. To be clear, a right is something that the client is entitled to under the agreement/contract, while an obligation is a legal duty on the client to do, or refrain, from doing a certain action.


During the course of the interview, the Toronto Family Lawyer will ask the client if they’ve been influenced, pressured, or coerced in any form or fashion to sign the agreement/contract. The Toronto Family Lawyer will ask the client point-blank if they’re entering into this agreement/contract voluntarily, and free from any threats, inducement or coercion by another person.


Once the Toronto Family Lawyer has completed reviewing the agreement/contract with the client, during which they answered all the lawyer’s questions to their satisfaction, and the lawyer believes that the client fully understands the nature of the agreement/contract, as well as the consequences of entering into it, and the possible repercussions of breach it, then the lawyer will sign and provide the client with a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice. This certificate will then be attached to the original copy of the agreement/contract.

Why Is Obtaining Independent Legal Advice Important?

Let’s say, for example, that a separating couple have drafted a separation agreement. If they both obtain ILA with respect to the separation agreement, this will make any future challenges by either party to the validity and/or enforceability of that agreement very challenging. What typically happens in these situations is, in the absence of ILA, one party will claim that they did not fully understand their rights and/or obligations under the separation agreement, and as such, they should not be legally bound by it. Such a challenge to the enforceability of the separation agreement is likely, unless each party received independent legal advice from separate Toronto Family Lawyers. As such, the most important reason a separating couple should seek ILA is to preclude the other party from claiming that they didn’t realize the consequences of signing said agreement.


It is important to note that if the separation agreement is challenged by one of the parties in the future, this will almost certainly mean additional court costs to both parties. It is never a good idea to try and save a little bit of money now by avoiding ILA, because if the agreement/contract is challenged, the court costs associated with such challenge will be markedly higher than the costs of obtaining ILA.


At LawyerSelect.ca, we deal with many skilled Toronto Family Lawyers who have a great deal of experience providing clients with independent legal advice on family law-related issues. Contact one of our client specialists today, and they’ll put you in touch with the best Toronto Family Lawyer for your matter.

What Do I Get When I Receive Independent Legal Advice?

You already know that the Toronto Family Lawyer who provides you with independent legal advice will advise you on the meaning and legal ramifications of the agreement/contract in question. In addition to this, however, the Toronto Family Lawyer will want to know more information about you, your entire family, and the circumstances of your relationship. Based on this information, they’ll be able to advise you on things like:

  • The specific laws and legal principles that apply to your matter.
  • The likely results or outcome if you and your spouse/partner decided to litigate the matter in family court.
  • The risks that may be involved in taking your matter to court, as well as the likely quantum of legal costs.
  • Whether the terms of the agreement/contract are similar to the results that may ensue if you were to litigate your matter.
  • Whether the agreement is fair based on the current state of the family law.
  • If not, what changes to the agreement may make it fairer and more equitable.
  • Whether any changes need to be made to the agreement so as to protect it from any future challenges regarding its equity and fairness.
  • And whether you should sign the agreement based on its current form.

Other Uses Of Independent Legal Advice In Family Law

Another common use for independent legal advice is when one of the spouses or partners to the marriage or relationship wants to secure a debt against a property that is jointly owned by the couple, and where the debt that’s being secured provides no benefit to the other spouse or partner. For example, let’s say one of the spouses or partners wants to secure a car loan for their exclusive personal use against property that’s jointly held by the couple. If that spouse or partner defaults on the loan (usually by failing to make the payments), then the other spouse or partner will suffer loss as a result, without reaping any benefit from the vehicle itself. Therefore, a spouse or partner cannot encumber title to jointly held property without the prior written consent of the other spouse or partner. This applies to the matrimonial home as much as it applies to a car loan secured against jointly held property.


At LawyerSelect.ca, we care about your rights. Don't agree to securing any debts against jointly held property until you've had an opportunity to consult with a Toronto Family Lawyer about the nature of your obligations under the loan. Contact us today to be connected with some of the top Toronto Family Lawyers who provide independent legal advice.

Why Do I Need A Toronto Family Lawyer To Provide Me With Independent Legal Advice?

The Ontario family law, as well as the Family Court system, are both legally and procedurally time consuming and complicated. Equally as challenging are the out-of-court negotiations that are held between the parties. This is because most people are unfamiliar with family law, and are, therefore, unaware of the rights they may have or the entitlements they may seek.


Those that represent themselves, whether in a court proceeding or during negotiations, run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, stressed out and lost. What usually results is they inadvertently hurt their own case by failing to consider the range of legal consequences. Don't prejudice yourself because you didn't want to spend the money on a Toronto Family Lawyer. At LawyerSelect.ca, we can connect you with a Toronto Family Lawyer who charges reasonable fees, and accepts payment plans.

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