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Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project’s aim is to improve access to family justice for middle income Ontarians by increasing the use of limited scope retainers, legal coaching and summary legal counsel in family law matters.

Are you involved in a family law dispute and dealing with it on your own, without a lawyer? Are you self-represented?

If so, this website can help you – it includes information on how to have a lawyer help you with some parts of your case or from time to time.

If you are representing yourself, you are not alone. About half of all people who appear in family courts in Ontario do so without a lawyer.

BUT you do not have to do it without legal help. Help is available and you can find out more about it on this website. The good news is that there is more than one way to get legal help. If you are interested in learning more, read on!

Traditionally, when you hire (or “retain”) a lawyer, they take on responsibility for your whole case. You pay them based on their hourly rate – which can add up quickly. Generally speaking, they remain responsible for your case from beginning to end, based on instructions from you.

You have another option, called “unbundling,” or limited scope services.

With unbundled or limited scope services, the client keeps control over the case. The lawyer gives the client help only with certain, agreed-to tasks or from time to time.

You meet with a lawyer at the start of your case, or at a point where you need legal help, and you decide together what parts they will help with and how, and what parts you will handle yourself, based on your budget, your comfort level, and how much time you have available to give to your case.

Unbundled legal services give you a chance to figure out with a lawyer – in person, over the phone, by video conference or by email – how to get the best value and best legal outcomes with the resources you have.

If you want to retain full control over your matter but you would like to have a lawyer assist you in the background, legal coaching is an option you may want to consider. A limited scope retainer or legal coaching can be much less expensive than hiring a lawyer the traditional way, but will give you access to a legal expert when you need one.

Some help is better than no help, especially if you get the help you need, the way you need it, when you need it. People who get at least some legal help report more satisfaction with the court process and better outcomes in their cases. A recent study suggests that cases can take an average of 66% longer to resolve when at least one party does not have a lawyer.[1] Getting some legal advice can go a long way to helping you reduce delays and frustration.

If you are interested in learning more, read on!

[1]Birnbaum, Rachel, Michael Saini & Nicholas Bala. “Growing Concerns about the Impact of Self-Representation in Family Court: Views of Ontario Judges, Children’s Lawyers and Clinicians” (2018) 37:2 Canadian Family Law Quarterly 121–137.

More Information

Information for the Public

Get information on limited scope services for family law matters in Ontario.

If you’re dealing with a family law matter, find out whether limited scope services are right for you. These legal services may be significantly less expensive because parties pay for assistance from a lawyer who is only retained to do specific tasks.

Find Out More

Find A Lawyer

Search our online database of Ontario family law lawyers providing limited scope services.

Find an Ontario lawyer who can provide legal services for part, but not all, of your family law matter. This is an affordable option if you don’t qualify for legal aid, can’t afford a lawyer for your entire matter, or might otherwise choose to represent yourself.

Information for Lawyers

Information and resource links for Ontario family law lawyers.

We’ve compiled various articles, forms and links which are important to lawyers providing family law limited scope services in the province of Ontario. You can also add your name, contact information and practice details to our online directory.

Find Out More
About Our Directory


How can I get added to the online directory?2018-09-07T14:36:35-04:00

It’s easy to get added to our online directory of Ontario family law lawyers offering limited scope services.

Click here to find out how.

Where can I find information on offering limited scope services to my clients?2020-06-29T19:43:37-04:00

This website includes several articles and links to websites specifically to assist Ontario family law lawyers.

View our Info for Lawyers page.

Can I download forms and agreements from this website?2018-09-07T14:34:08-04:00

Yes you can. We’ve included various forms and agreements in PDF format that you may download and use with your clients.

You’ll find these documents on our Info for Lawyers page.

What are Limited Scope Services?2020-06-29T19:46:37-04:00

A lawyer performs discrete tasks for a client, and the client handles other tasks that, in a full service retainer, would all be included in the services the lawyer would provide.

For more information, read our Limited Scope Services FAQ’s.

How can I find a lawyer offering limited scope services?2020-06-29T19:45:49-04:00

There are many family law lawyers across Ontario that offer their clients limited scope services.

To start your search for a lawyer, look at our online directory.

Are the lawyers in the Directory the only lawyers who provide limited scope services in Ontario?2020-06-29T19:27:39-04:00

No. You are not restricted to the lawyers in the Directory. These lawyers have completed the Project’s training course on Family Law Limited Scope Services and have met the Project’s minimum practice requirements in order to be added to the Directory. Other lawyers may be prepared to provide limited scope services.

Can you give some tips on how to proceed?2018-09-18T11:15:59-04:00

We are continually adding more helpful documents and links to this website to assist you.

The best place to begin is to have a look at our Info for Clients page.

Thank you for visiting the Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project website.

The Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project’s aim is to improve access to family justice for middle income Ontarians by increasing the use of limited scope retainers, legal coaching and summary legal counsel in family law cases.

The Project facilitates access to and use of these services through the creation of this website hosting a province-wide roster of trained lawyers willing and able to provide such services. Prospective clients are able to search this website by location, type of service and service provider.

Please direct any questions, comments or concerns to Helena Birt at