Reducing the Cost of Divorce with Limited Assistance Representation (LAR)

By: Attorney Anthony C. Adamopoulos

If you are facing divorce, you may be feeling a lot of uncertainty. If you are also having financial difficulties, you may feel more uncertainty. This post is intended to provide information and resources to help you understand a different alternative when facing divorce; an alternative that may give you more certainty.

What is Limited Assistance Representation (LAR)?

Limited Assistance Representation allows you to hire me to help you with some, but not all, of your divorce proceedings. In a written agreement, you and I outline exactly what I am expected to do.  Here are some areas in which I can help you:

  • Limited Assistance for a Court Appearance: This allows you to hire me to go with you to court and “appear” for you, one appearance at a time, for example, appear at a Pre-Trial Conference.
  • Limited Assistance for a Service: This allows you to hire me for one type of service, for example, to review a separation agreement.
  • Limited Assistance for Document Preparation:  This allows you to hire me to prepare a document to be filed with the court, for example, a Pre Trial Memorandum.
  • Limited Assistance for Help in Negotiating: This allows you and I to focus on those issues and approaches that will most likely achieve settlement.

Benefits of Limited Assistance Representation For You:

  • Limited Assistance Representation can be helpful if you have financial restrictions keeping you from hiring an attorney for the entire divorce process. With Limited Assistance, you only pay for the services you need.
  • Limited Assistance Representation allows you to hire an attorney for “game changing” events such as the Pre-Trial Conference with the judge when an attorney’s experience can make a difference in the outcome of the Conference.

Is Limited Assistance Representation Appropriate For You?

  • Limited Assistance Representation is appropriate when you do not wish to represent yourself and cannot hire an attorney for the entire case, but you still need representation for a specific matter.
  • Limited Assistance Representation is appropriate when you feel comfortable taking on certain responsibilities, for example, the preparation of the Financial Statement and the gathering, organizing and producing of financial records.
  • Limited Assistance Representation is appropriate for an existing court matter or a matter soon to be filed with the court.

Important Considerations:

  •  Under the law people who represent themselves are not entitled to special considerations or leniency. This is important because many people believe that if they represent themselves the judge must “go easy” on them.







Divorce Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Arbitration or Mediation?

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos (© 2014)

The two most common divorce alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures are mediation and divorce arbitration. While each is an effective alternative, each serves a different purpose and each has its own format.

Divorce mediation is a form of dispute negotiation between divorcing parties. It is led by a neutral called a mediator. The mediator’s sole responsibility is to help the parties reach an agreement on the three major concerns of any divorce – the children, support and property division.

The mediator does not decide any issue. The mediator helps focus the parties on producing a written settlement agreement that addresses the issues that a judge would address in a divorce trial or at an uncontested settlement hearing.

In mediation, it is wise and useful for each party to have their own attorney; however, unlike court litigation, a party’s attorney does not usually attend mediation sessions. Each attorney acts as an advisor to his or her client on how the “settlement hearing judge” will respond to the settlement agreement or parts of it being considered by the parties.

Mediation is appropriate whenever two parties want to sit with each other and “work-out” their own issues, rather than engage in litigation.

Arbitration is a form of dispute decision making where a neutral called an arbitrator decides the dispute. The arbitrator’s sole responsibility is to decide a dispute between the parties. The dispute can be over any divorce issue. The arbitrator’s decision is called an Award. The Award, or its substance, is inserted into the parties’ settlement agreement. As a general rule, arbitration awards are binding on the parties. This means that, except in certain unusual circumstances, the parties cannot appeal the decision.

When the decision to arbitrate a dispute is made, it is wise and useful for each party to have their own attorney. At the arbitration hearing, each attorney will present the respective position of each party. Presentations can be simple and direct because they are not laden with the many rules associated with court litigation.