You probably associate the term "unbundling" with your cable or phone services, not your attorney. Hoover, unbundled legal services might be exactly what you need to get you through a divorce with your finances mostly intact. What exactly are unbundled legal services and are they right for you?
Unbundled legal services let you pay for just what you actually need.
With ready access to pre-printed online legal forms and sample filing papers available at courthouses just about everywhere, a lot of people feel like they could fill out their own divorce papers without an attorney's help, especially if the marriage was fairly short and there are no children involved. However, filing a divorce and seeing it all the way through court pro se can be daunting when you aren't a legal professional.
At the same time, you don't want to pay a huge retainer for work you can do yourself and are willing to handle. That's where unbundling has started to come in among legal professionals, particularly with divorce cases, which helps make the whole process more affordable. An attorney who is willing to unbundle his or her services will typically have a client sign a limited-scope agreement that spells out exactly what the attorney will and won't be responsible for doing. For example, the client may write his or her own divorce agreement and the attorney will agree to review it for compliance with state laws and appear in court with the client for the actual divorce hearing.
Payment could be fixed based on the number of hours an attorney expects to spend on the case or broken out per individual services. Fixed fees help clients manage their legal costs—which for many people means the difference between not having any help from an attorney and having an attorney who is there to help when he or she is needed the most.
Not every case is right for unbundled legal services
A lot of times, what drives up the cost of a divorce is the inability of the two parties to agree on anything—whether it's about when and where custody exchanges are to take place or who gets the crystal glasses that were a wedding gift. Unfortunately, that's exactly the sort of situation where unbundling might not be your best option because a lawyer who is providing you with limited services isn't going to be able to keep up with the constantly changing needs of an acrimonious case.
However, unbundling can be right for you even if you have one or two areas of contention where the issues aren't clear cut, as long as the majority of the issues are agreed upon. For example, if you don't really have any assets to split but you and your spouse can't quite agree on what's fair for a visitation schedule with the kids, unbundled services can help you through that particular issue.
Similarly, unbundling is going to work better for you if you are fairly computer literate and able to understand the directions provided by courthouses on what to file and how. If you have trouble making sense of all the rules you have to follow, you may find unbundled services nerve-wracking rather than helpful.
If you're interested in unbundled legal services for your divorce, consider talking to an attorney in your area about the possibility.You might contact a company like DeSanto and Kellogg Law Office LLC with any questions you have.