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Separation and divorce

Getting a lawyer when you have limited resources

Do you need a lawyer to represent you in your legal proceedings but are afraid you can’t afford one? Legal aid, provision for costs or limited scope mandate: There are solutions for you to receive a lawyer’s services free of charge or at little cost.

Legal aid

Legal aid is a public service that allows you to be represented by a lawyer free of charge or at little cost throughout your separation proceedings.

To find out if you’re eligible, you must first make an appointment at a legal aid office for verification.

During this appointment, your financial situation will be assessed. Your income, your scholarships, the money in your bank accounts, your TFSAs and RRSPs, the property you own, your mortgages, and your children’s childcare expenses are among the factors that will be taken into consideration.

Your ex’s financial situation will not affect your eligibility, even if he or she earns a lot of money.

At the end of this appointment, three scenarios are possible:

  • You’re eligible for free legal aid and therefore you won’t have to pay any fees ("gratuitous legal aid").
  • You’re eligible for legal aid upon payment of a contribution, which means you’ll have to pay fees varying between $100 and $800 ("contributory legal aid").
  • You’re not eligible and therefore can’t benefit from the service.

If you’re eligible for either gratuitous or contributory legal aid, you’ll be able to choose the lawyer you want to represent you, who will be paid by legal aid. The lawyer may work in a legal aid office, or work in private practice provided that he or she accepts legal aid mandates. 


The lawyer who accepts your legal aid mandate isn’t allowed to ask you to pay for his or her services at any time. This is the case even if you’re eligible for contributory legal aid because in that case you must pay your contribution directly to legal aid, which will be responsible for paying your lawyer’s fees.

En apprendre plus

Legal Aid Questionnaire - Do I qualify financially? (Commission des services juridiques)

En apprendre plus

Find a Legal Aid office (Commission des services juridiques)

En apprendre plus

Preparing for Your Legal Aid Appointment (Éducaloi)


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The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.

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