Monday, January 30, 2017

Can I File For Divorce Myself? Limited Assistance Representation in MA

filing for divorce myselfLimited Assistance Representation (“LAR” or “unbundling”) allows you to do most of the work on your case while the attorney’s services are limited to specific tasks. For example:

1.    You can draft complaints or other legal documents and hire an attorney to review them to make sure they are adequate for filing with the Court;
2.    You can appear in Court without an attorney, but consult with an attorney who can inform you on the legal issues, court procedures and strategy;
3.    You can draft/prepare documents and hire an attorney to appear in Court and make your argument;
4.    You can hire an attorney to make ‘discovery requests’ to the other party; discovery usually consists of official documents or statements from banks, employers, the other party, etc.
5.    You can hire an attorney to attend a meeting between the parties and counsel, or you can hire an attorney to coach you before the meeting.

Hiring an attorney on a limited basis is often less costly than if you hire them to provide full legal representation. For example, parties going through a divorce with children can expect to pay $20,000 or more for two attorneys, one representing each party. An attorney hired on a limited basis will likely cost less, depending on the scope of services for which they are hired. The circumstances of each case dictate the cost. An attorney can be effective at moving your case forward, especially if you are overwhelmed by the process and/or opposing counsel.

Communication is key to any relationship, of course, but especially between you and your potential attorney. Most attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation, so make the time and effort to consult with an attorney and give them a thorough overview of your case so they can adequately advise you. The complexity or simplicity of the issues, combined with your complete disclosure, will assist the attorney with valuing your case and the scope of their representation. A good divorce attorney will inform you about the strength and weaknesses of your case and help you decide whether you need full or limited representation and which aspects of your case each of you will handle.

Attorney Delaney’s limited assistance representation fee structure is determined by a number of factors. Her initial consultations are complimentary. You can call or email her office to schedule an in-person or phone consultation. Have whatever paperwork has been filed and/or served or a list of issues with you during the meeting so she can adequately advise you.

By Kathleen Delaney