Divorce is likely to be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Even if you and your spouse reached a mutual decision to end your marriage, the actual divorce process is more complex and tedious than many people realize, and the process may take much longer than you initially expected. One aspect of divorce that gives many people pause is the potential cost of legal representation. Of course, hiring an experienced St. Louis divorce attorney to represent you is the best way to reach a positive outcome to your divorce, but if you and your spouse are on relatively agreeable and civil terms, it’s natural to wonder whether you can handle your divorce on your own.
Many Americans consider legal representation to be prohibitively expensive. When you are facing a divorce that is likely to impact your financial situation in significant ways, the thought of shouldering even more of a financial burden with your legal representation can be incredibly daunting. Luckily, many divorce attorneys operating in the St. Louis, MO, area offer flexibility to their prospective clients. However, if you are trying to save money on the legal fees your divorce case will entail, it’s essential to consider limited scope representation.
What Is Limited Scope Representation?
As the name suggests, limited scope representation refers to having an attorney assist you with some, but not all, aspects of your divorce case. Some issues involved in the divorce process are incredibly complex, and the average person may have no idea how to approach these topics. Conversely, other aspects of divorce are more straightforward. It’s also vital to consider the procedural requirements of the divorce process in St. Louis.
Limited scope representation is commonly seen as “a la carte” legal representation; the client essentially chooses which aspects of their divorce case their attorney will handle while they take care of the rest on their own. This will dramatically reduce their attorney’s time handling their case, reducing the client’s legal fees.
How to Leverage Limited Scope Representation
Every marriage is unique; therefore, every divorce case is unique as well. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to divorce in St. Louis, and you must adapt your strategy based on the unique factors in play in your divorce case and your unique needs and interests. If you are unsure whether you need an attorney, or if you believe you will only require an attorney’s assistance for certain aspects of your divorce, keep a few considerations in mind:
- Do you understand the process of filing a divorce petition or responding to your spouse’s divorce petition? An experienced St. Louis divorce attorney can help you draft a petition that is more likely to lead to a streamlined divorce process rather than a contentious or incomplete petition that opens the door to heated disputes.
- Have you gathered all the records and documentation you will require for your divorce? A significant component of the divorce process is financial disclosure. Divorcing spouses must provide complete and accurate financial information to ensure their marital property’s fair and equitable division. If you have substantial assets or do not know how to gather the materials you will require, it may be best to have an experienced lawyer help with this.
- Do you have children? When a divorce involves child custody and child support determination, the situation is much more challenging for everyone involved. A St. Louis divorce lawyer can help you draft a compelling case for custody and increase your chances of securing the type of custody arrangement you envision.
- What type of timetable do you expect for your divorce? If you want to finalize your divorce as soon as possible, it’s best to consult an attorney who can help you streamline your proceedings. Your attorney can help you take advantage of collaborative divorce or mediation to secure your divorce order in a fraction of the time litigation would require.
- How willing are you and your spouse to negotiate? Alternative dispute resolution almost always provides more control over the outcome of your divorce and can save you a significant amount of time and money. If you are worried about the cost of legal representation for a protracted court battle, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution can provide the savings you need, and you can still have legal counsel through this process.
- Do you only require help with the procedural side of your divorce? Some divorcing couples have minimal shared assets, no children, and can relatively easily divide their marital assets and debts. You may only require legal counsel for the procedural aspects of your case, such as filing specific motions and meeting court-ordered deadlines. In this case, a St. Louis divorce attorney can effectively fill in the gaps and help you finalize your divorce faster.
No matter what your divorce entails, it is always best to have legal representation on your side to have the best possible experience with your divorce case. Effective legal counsel will also minimize the chance of ending up with a one-sided or unreasonable set of divorce terms that you will eventually need to revisit in the future.
What to Expect From Your St. Louis Divorce Attorney
When most people think of expensive legal fees, they imagine arduous court battles that last for months. However, your divorce doesn’t necessarily have to play out this way. Take advantage of alternative dispute resolution and devote the time necessary to gather the records and other materials you need to complete the process. Your divorce may only take a fraction of the time you initially expected.
Limited scope representation allows you to effectively dictate when and how your legal team will assist you in your divorce case. This, in turn, allows you to have more control over the ultimate cost of your attorneys’ fees. If you are unsure whether you need an attorney for your divorce in St. Louis or if you are interested in limited scope representation, it’s vital to consult an experienced St. Louis divorce lawyer as soon as possible about your concerns.