Many parents and spouses choose to represent themselves when divorcing, establishing child custody or modifying child support. Parties who represent themselves in Court are referred to as pro se litigants. The do-it-yourself DIY divorce is achievable, as many divorces do not have an attorney on one side or the other. The question is whether these spouses and parents proceeding pro se are being optimally successful while saving money. With today’s technology and the ability for many to work from home, limited scope representation is now more available to the public.
Our highly experienced Fort Collins divorce and child custody attorneys help empower these spouses and parents to proceed pro se with an attorney behind the scenes, providing legal advice only when needed. This type of legal representation is known as “unbundled” legal representation or limited scope representation. Think of it like an a la carte menu, you only select the limited legal services you need and avoid those which you choose to accomplish on your own. If you need help with your divorce or child custody case, our attorneys are available for specific areas of Colorado family law including divorce and child custody.
Call us today to discuss how we can empower and help you in your pro se case! (970) 488-1887
Benefits of Unbundled Representation
- You save time. The answer to your legal question is often readily available to your attorney, whereas the time it likely will take you to research could be overwhelming and unclear;
- You save money. Working on an unbundled relationship with an attorney requires teamwork. You do what you can do, depending on your skills and experience; your attorney partner brings an experienced background to those areas that present barriers to you and gives you readily available resources to help guide you;
- You are in control. Because you are guiding the ship, you have immediate control over the costs of representation, choosing to save in one area by doing the work and spending in another by having your attorney jump in;
- Confidentiality. Having an unbundled attorney is great strategy. When you hire an attorney for your divorce or child custody case, the other side does not have to know you are receiving professional legal advice. Where it benefits you, you can disclose this information. By controlling this knowledge, you can, to an extent, steer your case.
- Want to learn more about unbundled legal services, the University of Denver offers a guide for consumers of unbundled legal services here.
À La Carte Menu / Unbundled Legal Services we Offer
Our Fort Collins unbundled attorneys help parents establishing or modifying child custody represent themselves in Court by providing the following help:
- Drafting legal documents like petitions for divorce (Dissolution of Marriage), allocation of parental responsibilities, detailed mandatory financial disclosures, Parenting Plans, Separation Agreements, and more. We go above and beyond the State approved JDF forms, as our parenting plans and separation agreements have been developed by highly experienced family law attorneys with many years of experience.
- Advising our pro se clients what the law is and how the judge should apply it in your case by providing our clients with the black letter of the law as well as case law that defines those laws;
- Coaching and helping to develop case strategy, including negotiation and mediation strategies;
- Explaining the court and legal process as well as the different types of court appearances that will occur in your case and how you can best present your case;
- Sharing our experiences before various judicial officers, including the judges and magistrates we regularly appear before.
- Availability to attend mediation with you and help you prepare for mediation in advance to get the most benefit out of it while avoiding pitfalls;
- Providing guidance with child custody, a complex process involving legal, psychological and factual determinations.
Child Custody and Unbundled Legal Services
Our Fort Collins child custody attorneys can help parents who are establishing or modifying child custody, by helping you make strategic and procedural decisions around the following:
- Your child and what is best for them is one of our client’s most important priorities, but parents do not always know what they should consider when determining parenting time for the children. As attorneys who focus exclusively in family law we will educate you to both the legal standard by which the Court will decide matters and to the world of psychology as it relates to child custody and what should be considered pursuant to the experts in child psychology.
- Referring you to local Child and Family Investigators, child psychologists, and other professionals within our network;
- Providing well-informed solutions to the issues you face as you establish or modify child custody
- Craft creative solutions to your unique custody issues.
Divorce and Unbundled Legal Services
Our Fort Collins limited representation divorce attorneys can help spouses who are planning for divorce or about to divorce in the following ways:
- Determining the equitable division of property in Colorado requires an analysis of many factors, as Colorado is not a 50 / 50 state. Did you know the economic circumstances of each spouse and who contributed to the marriage must be considered by the Judge?
- Valuing property is a critical step in any divorce, and we have worked with experts from business valuations experts to residential real estate appraisers. There are many options out there, and your attorney has access to a wealth of options and experience to guide you to the best solutions possible.
- Maintenance, more commonly known as alimony, is treated uniquely in Colorado and the determination of maintenance being awarded in your divorce is often a critical component to your future well-being. It is one piece of the puzzle that makes up the financial determinations in the final decree, but one of the only ones that lasts past that date. Carefully handling the questions around maintenance and determining how best to anticipate your future needs is a complex process where your attorney can be invaluable for a successful future.
The agreements you reach when divorcing are largely final. While maintenance can sometimes be modified in the future pursuant to Statute, but you could also lock in maintenance that could never be modified. Your attorney will explain the difference, help you determine what may be best for your unique circumstances, and can also ensure that the final drafting of documents and any agreement reflects what is best for you now and in the future. We will consider factors such as:
- Proportions of property division
- Division of retirement and investment accounts
- Who gets treasured pets
- And, importantly, what NOT to fight over
When Unbundled is Not a Good Option
- There are limits to unbundled representation. While cases can conclude without an attorney, an attorney can help identify, resolve or prevent headaches. When the following issues are present, it is best to make the investment in hiring an experienced lawyer for full representation and to lead your case:
- Domestic Violence and Abuse: When there is an unhealthy relationship between the parties, representing yourself is not advised. Know that domestic abuse includes not only physical abuse, but financial and emotional abuse. Due to long standing patterns of disproportionate power in many of these relationships, the parties, especially the victims, are not well situated to represent themselves.
- Trial and Evidentiary Hearings: In addition to the knowledge our Fort Collins family law attorneys have, we also have a tremendous amount of skill. The ability to competently and methodically question a witness on the stand while they testify is not something we can teach you in the limited time period before your divorce or custody trial.
- Complex Financial Marital Holdings: If you have extensive and complex financial issues in your divorce, you will likely save money by hiring an excellent attorney to navigate the countless potential pitfalls that could make enormous differences to your future.
If you are uncertain what kind of legal representation you need, if any at all, spend 30 minutes with us, discussing how to proceed. As we handle both kinds of cases, we are in an excellent position to help you see all sides. Further, if you engage us as an unbundled client, you can always decide later to transition to full representation, and the other direction as well!
We are here to help, schedule your consultation with an attorney today to discuss your family law concerns.
"I have had the pleasure to work with Tom Cossitt on a few occasions. He helped my family navigate a very difficult time. He is a tribute to his profession. He was responsive, timely, professional and compassionate. I value his advice and him as a person." - Kelli Olsheski (Google Review)