In most divorce cases, people hire attorneys to represent them through the divorce process. The attorneys will be with them from the beginning to the end, potentially representing them in court all along the way. A litigated divorce tends to be costly, with attorneys providing their clients with their full menu of services. In some cases, this is the only option for resolving all matters related to the divorce.
Finding Alternatives To A Traditional, Litigated Divorce
Many are now discovering the benefits of Divorce Mediation and are avoiding the long, drawn-out, and costly traditional divorce method. Through Divorce Mediation, a trained mediator, serving as a neutral, facilitates a process to assist the parties through any or all of the issues related to their divorce. The cost savings happen immediately by paying one mediator vs. two attorneys.
Although mediators are often lawyers, in many states, it is not a requirement. Mediators are often helpful in answering questions; however, mediators may not give legal advice – even if they are also attorneys. So when a client needs legal advice or has legal questions, they can benefit from the assistance of an attorney. Additionally, at the end of the mediation process, having an attorney to navigate the court system and the procedural requirements can be beneficial.
This is where limited scope (a.k.a. “A la carte”) legal representation can be a significant benefit!
What is Limited Scope Legal Representation?
Limited Scope Legal Representation is what you may think it is; an attorney representing your interests in a limited way. A person can bring in a limited scope attorney at the beginning, middle, or end of the divorce process. You and your attorney will agree upon what services they will provide. They can work collaboratively with your mediator and can complete all the necessary legal documents for you. Unlike a mediator, a limited scope attorney can advise you legally and represent you in court in specified, agreed upon, circumstances.
Think of it as an insurance policy on your divorce. Someone who helps you understand the laws, what your rights and responsibilities are with regard to your children and/or your marital estate (finances/assets/debts), how to deviate from a state’s statute, what court has jurisdiction for your divorce, as well as draft and/or review all the legal paperwork that the courts require.
How Does This Save You Money?
The average cost of a litigated divorce is around $15,000*, per person for a total of $30,000 for a divorcing couple. The average cost of a mediated divorce with the assistance of a limited scope attorney is around $8,000* combined. That saves the average divorcing couple $22,000.
Through Divorce Mediation, with the assistance of a limited scope attorney, the results are often a durable agreement that was ultimately created by the couple themselves and not dictated by a judge or other third party. Knowing the divorce resolved peacefully, accurately, and legally will help clients have peace of mind moving forward with the rest of their lives.
*Source – Business Insider – August 1, 2019
Known for promoting litigation alternatives in family-related legal disputes, Rachel Nicole Hernandez is a collaborative family lawyer & the founder of Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC, a collaborative & family law firm with offices in St. Charles & Sycamore, Illinois.