by: Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed
Family separation cases can be emotionally and financially draining for parents. These cases often involve complicated legal processes, including child custody, child support, and property division, which can be difficult to navigate without professional legal assistance. Unfortunately, many parents cannot afford traditional legal services due to their high costs. However, there is a solution – unbundling legal services.
Unbundling legal services, also known as limited scope representation, is a process where clients hire lawyers for specific tasks rather than hiring them for the entire case. This approach can be more affordable for clients, as they only pay for the legal services they need, rather than paying for a lawyer’s full representation.
In family separation cases, parents can benefit greatly from unbundled legal services. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the unbundling legal services process.
Step 1: Identify the Legal Services You Need
Before you hire a lawyer for unbundled legal services, you need to identify the legal services you need. For example, if you need help drafting a parenting plan, you can hire a lawyer to provide you with legal advice and guidance on how to create a plan that meets your needs and the needs of your child. You can also hire a lawyer to help you prepare and file legal documents, such as a petition for divorce or a motion for child support.
Step 2: Find a Lawyer Who Offers Unbundled Legal Services
Once you have identified the legal services you need, you need to find a lawyer who offers unbundled legal services. Many lawyers offer this service, but you need to ensure that they have experience in family separation cases. You can find lawyers who offer unbundled legal services by doing an online search or by contacting your local bar association.
Step 3: Discuss the Scope of the Legal Services
When you find a lawyer who offers unbundled legal services, you need to discuss the scope of the legal services you need. This discussion will help you and your lawyer understand the legal services you need and how much you will be charged for those services. You should also discuss the lawyer’s availability and how you will communicate with them.
Step 4: Sign a Limited Scope Representation Agreement
Once you and your lawyer have agreed on the scope of the legal services, you need to sign a limited scope representation agreement. This agreement will outline the legal services you need, the lawyer’s fees, and the limitations of the representation. You should read this agreement carefully before signing it to ensure that you understand the terms of the agreement.
Step 5: Work with Your Lawyer
Once you have signed the limited scope representation agreement, you can start working with your lawyer. Your lawyer will provide you with legal advice and guidance on the specific legal services you need. It is essential to maintain good communication with your lawyer to ensure that you get the best legal representation possible.
In conclusion, family separation cases can be difficult to navigate without legal assistance, and traditional legal services can be expensive. Unbundling legal services can be an affordable alternative for parents who need legal representation in family separation cases. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can find a lawyer who offers unbundled legal services and get the legal assistance you need to navigate your family separation case successfully.
Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the Hope4Families.net platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families.