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What if I want my attorney’s help for only part of the divorce?

Preparing for a divorce case can be overwhelming. There are many aspects of your marriage and financial documents to look over before you and your ex take the proceedings to court. Any oversight you made in the process is usable against you, resulting in your ex retaining more assets or child custody.

You want the legal expertise of an attorney, but you might find it to cost more than you thought. There are also actions you feel that you can perform on your own in the proceedings without your lawyer’s help and do not want to incur any additional fees. If you only need partial legal assistance, California offers limited-scope representation. Before you consider choosing this, it is essential to know what this option can do for your divorce case.

What is limited-scope representation?

By choosing to go with limited-scope representation, you and your lawyer will agree that the lawyer will only help with certain parts of the case while you can handle the rest. There are many different ways to approach this, and it is primarily based upon what you think you can handle on your own. For example, you can have your lawyer just prepare the forms and court documents while you represent yourself at the child custody hearings.

What can I get out of it?

Since your lawyer is not handling your entire case, you can save money on legal fees. This tends to be the most popular reason as many divorcees are unsure of how much of their finances and assets they will retain from the proceedings. You can also focus more on building your arguments for your property or child custody while your attorney handles parts that are more difficult or time-consuming for you. Those who are worried about potential legal malpractice may also want more control over their case.

Are there any downsides?

Limited-scope representation does not work for every divorce. There can be different complications brought upon through property distribution and child custody cases that you may not be properly prepared for. While your lawyer can teach you different techniques to prepare for the court, certain issues involved like a parent that is moving out of the state or a spouse facing potential criminal charges may require additional legal assistance. Since there is so much at stake, it can be nerve-racking handling some of these proceedings by yourself.

Is it right for me?

It is crucial that you talk to your lawyer to determine if limited-scope representation is the best option for your case. Be very specific about the details of your divorce and what areas you are knowledgeable about. Your lawyer will be able to tell which parts of the proceedings you will need more help in and can help create a plan that outlines their amount of involvement in the case.

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