Bundled or Unbundled Legal Representation
It is estimated that about 65% of litigants in family court begin their case unrepresented and that number grows to 85% by the end of the court case. Legal representation is expensive. Many times so expensive, people cannot afford to retain an attorney to represent them.
The Florida Supreme Court responded to the growing number of unrepresented litigants in the Family Law Courts by permitting litigants to retain an attorney for part of the case as the legal need arises. It is called "unbundled legal services" and it is newer to Florida but well established in other states live California.
The simplest way to envision unbundled legal services is to present you a few examples:
You have a long term marriage (more than 17 years), children under the age of 18 (minors), marital property and debt (equitable distribution) and are about to file a divorce but have a limited budget.
a. You can retain an attorney to prepare all the legal pleadings and documents you need to file for your divorce and you handle the balance of your case.
b. You retain an attorney to handle all mandatory financial discovery that must be exchanged and file the Notice and you handle the balance of your case.
c. You retain the attorney to draft a motion and request a hearing on your behalf and if you want, argue the motion on your behalf. When that motion is finished you continue to handle the balance of your case.
d. You can retain an attorney to prepare you and represent you in mediation. If the case settles in mediation, there will be little left to do and you can handle the balance of the case.
e. If mediation does no settle the entire case you can retain an attorney to assist you in preparing a Pretrial Statement and file it on your behalf and you can handle the balance of your case.
f. You can retain an attorney to prepare for and represent you at trial.
g. You can retain an attorney to advise you and provide you with opinion letters or even ghost write motions and memoranda of law for you while you continue to handle your case.
YOU CAN CHOOSE ANY OF THESE OR SEVERAL OF THESE "LEGAL BUNDLES".
The choice should be made after careful thought and consultation with an attorney you may retain.
The whole point of unbundled practice of law is the lawyer assists where the client feels a need to retain an attorney for help and assistance. The expense to the litigant is less. The quality of the legal service is the same as if the attorney was retained to handle the litigation from start to finish (bundled legal services), it differs only in the amount of work the attorney is expected to do for the client and the expense the client must pay.
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