Washington State attorneys experienced in estate planning and family law

Affordable divorce in Washington: Unbundled Legal Services

For many separating couples, the emotional trauma of actual separation is further complicated by the potentially devastating economic consequences of splitting one house into two. Add large legal bills to this situation and you have one reason why many couples are actually choosing to stay together purely for economic reasons. How is it practically feasible to get a divorce without spending thousands of dollars while still making sure that your divorce papers are in order?

A different model of legal service

Think of it as separating out or “unbundling” the various legal tasks involved in the divorce process to get the most cost effective services from an attorney. If you learn that starting the divorce process involves filing, say, five documents you might go to an attorney for advice and assistance in preparing those documents to be filed with the court. The attorney might not actually go to court with you, however he or she will ensure that all documents are appropriately ready to be presented to the court. You could continue to pay that attorney for their time to assist you in further filings and preparations of documents. While you would be representing yourself on the record, you would under the guidance of an attorney, be doing so in an informed way and be saving yourself many billable hours of legal fees.

Another type of unbundled legal service might be a matter where an attorney provides a “limited scope of representation” in a particular issue. The attorney might step in to negotiate one aspect of your case even if the other side were represented by an attorney perhaps to reach a settlement.

Are unbundled legal services always appropriate?

Unbundled legal services are not always the best option in every case. These services might not be appropriate in a situation where the other side has an attorney who is representing them and the issues are highly complicated and contested. It requires you as a client to be an extremely active participant in your case and to be prepared to do some footwork in terms of court filings if you were to represent yourself. It is an option that works best where the issues involved can be agreed upon.