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Independent Legal Advice (ILA)

The legal advice a spouse or partner receives from their own lawyer is referred to as independent legal advice (ILA) in family law situations. This is an established procedure before a separation agreement is signed.

Why you need Independent Legal Advice

Before signing a separation agreement, it’s critical to obtain independent legal counsel.

A separation agreement is a legally enforceable contract. It covers rights, responsibilities, and in some cases releases from obligations. The majority of separation agreements address major subjects such as property, support, and parenting. As a result, it’s critical to understand the legal ramifications of the deal thoroughly.

A separation agreement might be overturned by a court in some instances. This can happen when a party signs an agreement without legal counsel. A party may argue that they did not understand what they were signing or that they were pressured to sign it without legal assistance.

What the Lawyer Does

The following is a brief summary of the stages that most attorneys go through while providing independent legal counsel.

  • A lawyer that gives advise will first go through the contract in depth.
  • The lawyer will verify that the information stated in the agreement is correct and that the party understands what it entails after verifying the settlement.
  • The lawyer will then go through the legal concerns that may arise in the party’s situation, such as family law rights and obligations.
  • The lawyer will ask more questions if a party is waiving a right or agreeing to do something greater than their legal obligation.
  • The legal representative will then give an opinion on whether the agreement is fair, as well as any recommended modifications that should be made to it.
  • The attorney will advise the client whether they should sign.
  • The lawyer will then sign a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice, which is presented at the conclusion of the separation agreement. This certificate verifies that advice was given and is attached as a tail on the end of the separation agreement in certain circumstances. A lawyer may not sign in certain situations where there is evidence that one or both parties are being subjected to undue pressure or duress.

Why you cannot use the same lawyer as your spouse

It’s not uncommon for divorcing couples to believe that their former spouse can also obtain independent legal counsel with the same lawyer. Each party must have individual legal representation in order for legal advice to be free of conflict. Because lawyers would be in a conflict of interest if they gave both parties independent legal advice, this is impossible.

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