Do it Mostly Yourself – Limited Assistance Representation

Options for Legal Help at Affordable Prices

Just because your budget is stretched does not mean you have to stumble through your case alone.

Not being able to get the legal help you need is a serious problem.  What are your options? You could stay in a bad marriage and try to just get by, but that is not a good choice for you or your kids.  You could buy some cheap forms online or get free documents from the court website and try to fill them out by yourself.  You can even sign-up through impersonal national companies for help, but that creates a host of other considerations.

Before you try to handle your case alone, consider the following:

  • Are you filling court forms out correctly?
  • Do you really know what to include in various pleadings, and what to leave out?
  • When it comes to negotiating the details of your divorce, some of which will be more complex than you anticipate, what might you overlook?
  • If you should make a mistake, are you aware of what can and what cannot be changed later?
  • Did you know that an unrepresented litigant is held to the same standards as someone with their own lawyer?
  • How do you know what you don’t know?
  • Is the person helping you an experienced divorce and family attorney in Massachusetts?

Let’s face it, trying to handle your case alone without any legal help is going to add to your stress level and generates another bunch potential pitfalls.

Thus, although full-service representation is the best option for a court-based case, it is a choice that more and more people just cannot afford.  Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) may be the best solution for your circumstances.

Why Consider Limited Assistance Representation?

You may fall into a large category of Massachusetts residents with moderate income that do not meet the strict guidelines for free legal aid through various organizations. To qualify for legal aid, your income and your assets are considered. Owning a home is oftentimes a disqualifying factor. Other times, legal aid groups simple do not have the capacity to help everyone that requests services.   So, you do not qualify for legal aid, but you are also not in the position to pay a large retainer to a lawyer to have him or her handle everything.

LAR, also known as unbundled legal services, is a flexible approach that involves your making some compromises based upon your goals and budget.  LAR fills the void between full legal representation and not having any legal help at all.

Is LAR a Good Option for You?

LAR allows you to get just the specific help you want, while you maintain responsibility for the other aspects of your case.

Note: Before embarking on a court-based case, we suggest you first see if the other party will consider an alternative, such as our divorce mediation services. If the other side refuses to participate in mediation you may be out of luck because both sides must agree to mediation. There is a lot of information about mediation on our website, but you can read this page about mediation to get started.  

LAR may be a good alternative for you if:

  • You have a Massachusetts divorce or other family law case.
  • You want legal help, but traditional, full-service legal services are outside your budget, or you just want to minimize your legal fees.
  • You are willing to maintain responsibility for the parts of your case that we are not working on, the details of which will be in your Client Agreement.
  • The issues involved in your case are not too technical or complicated.
  • Comfortable handling something unanticipated that may come up at a hearing.

Massachusetts Limited Assistance Representation Examples

  • Represent yourself during your case, but periodically consult with your lawyer who can coach you on procedures, strategy, and the law.
  • Work with your attorney to prepare and/or review your paperwork, but you attend a hearing by yourself.
  • Hire us to handle a court hearing for you, while you prepare the paperwork, or some other combination.
  • Consult with one of our Massachusetts family law attorneys to prepare and investigate important facts and information for your case, making sure it is in the correct format for the court or the other side.

As you can see, the unbundled approach is flexible and based upon your selection of specific services. Together, we agree on what specific task remain your responsibility, and what is ours.

When you work with Next Phase Legal on a limited assistance basis and your needs change, you can upgrade to our full-service legal representation, or request additional unbundled services.

Don’t Wait until It’s Too Late

When you are ready to move forward with your case and securing legal assistance, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.   It is not uncommon that people wait too long and then get nervous before a court hearing, providing us little time to prepare.  If you have a pending matter or hearing, it is best to provide as much advance time to us as possible.

Go here to see more about our current Limited Assistance Representation Packages.