To find a lawyer who does family law, you can
- contact your local Nova Scotia Legal Aid office at: www.nslegalaid.ca/contact.php
- contact law firms in your community that do family law
- contact your Employee Assistance Program or union if you have one
- go to nsfamilylaw.ca - the page on getting legal advice
- contact a women's centre or other trusted help organization to ask if they can suggest a referral
- ask a friend, family member or trusted professional for a suggested referral
- go to Lawyers and Legal Help for more ways to find a lawyer.
If you cannot pay a lawyer
You may qualify for Nova Scotia Legal Aid
Contact your local Nova Scotia Legal Aid office for information about Legal Aid's services.
Click here to find your local Nova Scotia Legal Aid office. You can also check your local directory for the addresses and telephone numbers of legal aid offices across Nova Scotia, listed under 'Legal Aid' in the white pages and government section of the telephone book.
Free brief legal advice for family law issues
You can make an appointment with a Nova Scotia Legal Aid Summary Advice Lawyer. You do not have to qualify for Nova Scotia Legal Aid to use this service. Go to nsfamilylaw.ca/legal-advice-information , (under question 21), for contact information.
More about the Summary Advice Counsel at Family Courts
This service is available throughout Nova Scotia. Your case or issue must be somehow related to the court where the Summary Advice lawyer is located. For example, if you are making an application to the court in Halifax, you should book an appointment with a Summary Advice lawyer in Halifax.
The Summary Advice Counsel is a lawyer who assists people who need legal advice on a family law matter, but who do not have a lawyer. The Summary Advice lawyer provides basic legal advice, free of charge, regardless of how much you make or where you get your income.
The purpose of the Summary Advice Counsel service is to give people a better understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. The Summary Advice lawyer can give basic information about legal terms, how to start or respond to a court application, court processes, legal documents, and other aspects of family law.
The Summary Advice lawyer can give advice on parenting arrangements, child support and spousal support, property division, divorce, and most other family law matters and court processes.
The Summary Advice lawyer does not provide advice to parents involved in child protection matters, or for matters involving Mi’kmaw Family Services. The Summary Advice lawyer may provide advice to a non-party to a child protection matter. For example, if you are not directly involved with a child protection proceeding and are applying for decision-making responsibility for, or contact with, the children involved.
The Summary Advice lawyer does not go to court with you. For more information about this service, click here.
You can contact your local Summary Advice lawyer to book an appointment by calling the appropriate number below:
Lower cost options
Your lawyer may accept alternate billing arrangements, or may be willing to just work on part of your case.
If you have no extra money, but you and your spouse own property, such as a home, investments, or RRSPs, some lawyers may agree to be paid at the end of your case, when you receive your share of the family property.
Also, some lawyers may consider helping you with just part of your legal issue - for example, preparing an affidavit or cross-examining a witness in court. Helping with just part of a case is sometimes called providing 'unbundled' or "Limited Scope Retainer" legal services. Go here for more information about how lawyers charge for their work.
You can represent yourself
If you decide to or must represent yourself, you should still ask a lawyer to review court forms before you file them with the court, if possible. You should always get independent legal advice from your own lawyer before you sign a written agreement or enter into a consent court order.
Start with nsfamilylaw.ca for family law information in Nova Scotia
- Contact the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia by telephone, email or live chat to connect with a legal information counsellor and get free family law information
- Nova Scotia Legal Aid offers family law information and family law live chat on its website on Tuesdays from 3 pm to 5 pm
- Justice Canada Family Law Information
- The Court Services Division of Nova Scotia's Department of Justice has Family Law Information Centres at the Supreme Court-Family Division in both Halifax and Sydney. Visit nsfamilylaw.ca or contact the court for more information
- A website called CANLII offers free access to Canadian laws and court decisions. You can also find Nova Scotia laws on the Nova Scotia legislature website - nslegislature.ca
- Information about the Supreme Court-Family Division, court forms, procedures and court contact information, is on the Nova Scotia Courts' website - www.courts.ns.ca
- Francophone Nova Scotians can get help from l'Association des juristes d'expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse, or contact the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia by email anytime, or by telephone on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons for legal information in French.
Last reviewed: August 2022