Types of Representation

Family Law

When it comes to your family law matter, legal services aren’t one-size-fits-all. Every case is unique and every client’s circumstances are different. Our attorneys tailor each approach to fit your specific needs. While some matters are complicated and require an attorney every step of the way, other cases may be best served using consulting services or limited-scope representation. We can help you decide which approach suits you and your needs best. It is sometimes the case that as your case evolves, changing from certain types of representation to another form of representation makes the most sense. Any form of representation you select will be memorialized in a written fee agreement or amended fee agreement with Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP.

Full Scope Representation

Full scope representation means that the attorney formally represents you in the case as “the attorney of record” for all purposes, hearings and communications with the court, opposing counsel or the opposing party (if self-represented). This is the traditional type of representation people think of when it comes to hiring an attorney for a divorce or family law matter. Our knowledgeable attorneys will carefully evaluate your case and advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of representation available for your legal matter.

If there are many issues in your case that require immediate attention, or if you feel lost in the legal process, full-scope representation means that you have an attorney helping you at all stages of the family law court process. Family law issues may involve:

  • Complicated custody matters
  • Complex parentage issues
  • Contested divorces
  • Divorces where hidden assets are suspected
  • Child support matters requiring discovery
  • Supervised visitation matters
  • Custody issues involving neglect, substance abuse, or criminal charges
  • The need for enforcement of court orders
  • Complex property issues
  • Complex support issues (child support or spousal support)
  • Settlement negotiations and litigation
  • Litigation of the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement

With full-scope representation, you can have peace of mind knowing that our dedicated family law attorneys will represent you from start to finish in all aspects of your case, regardless of the complexities that may arise. This could mean preparing and filing the initial Petition for divorce (or the Response), compiling evidence, compelling financial disclosures, conducting discovery or witness depositions, filing motions, communicating with opposing counsel, and representing you at contested hearings or trials. Having these types of representation also means that your lawyer will handle the service of process, court filings, and be the direct face of communications from the court or the opposing attorney.

Limited Scope Representation

Limited scope representation allows you to hire an attorney to work on specific legal projects, or specified hearings, in your family law matter without retaining them to handle all aspects of your case. With limited scope representation, your attorney can provide you with customized legal services based on your specific needs while you handle many of the tasks related to your case on your own. This option is often helpful when financial resources are limited, but critically important hearings or deadlines are approaching that would best be served with the knowledge, training, and experience of a lawyer helping you on a limited scope (i.e. for a specific issue or task).

At Bednarczyk & Valerio, we provide a variety of types of limited-scope services, such as:

  • Document review and preparation
  • Appearance at particular hearings (but not all hearings) and preparing clients for court appearances
  • Conducting legal research on a specific legal issue
  • Assisting with compiling exhibits in advance of a hearing
  • Offering legal guidance and advice
  • Appearing at a settlement conference and handling your legal obligations and deadlines prior to the settlement conference (like drafting your mandatory settlement conference statement and written proposal for global settlement)

These types of representation help you approach your family law matter with confidence — while minimizing the financial burden. Having access to the legal guidance you need at the time you need it most can make all the difference in the outcome. At your consultation, the attorney will discuss how best to tailor limited-scope assistance, and the scope will be defined in your fee agreement with Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP.

Consulting Services

In some situations, you may not wish to retain an attorney for full-scope or limited-scope services, and you may instead prefer to handle the matter directly, with the background advisory guidance of an attorney. A consulting attorney works solely in an advisory capacity for matters where an individual wishes to proceed in the eyes of the public as “unrepresented” or “in pro per.” This means that your name appears in the caption of all court papers, letters, and other documents - reflecting that you are “unrepresented.” You appear without an attorney at any hearings. A consulting attorney can advise you concerning certain aspects of your case and inform you of your legal rights as you reach out to them with questions about deadlines, next steps, and how to respond to settlement proposals and legal issues.

When you retain our office for consulting services, it may be because you do not wish to disclose to your spouse that you are working with an attorney. This may be especially true at the outset of your case. You may decide later that you wish to involve the attorney more, in which case your fee agreement for consulting services may be amended to either limited scope representation or full scope representation. Consulting services may also be appropriate because you feel comfortable handling the issues in your matter, but you simply need direction and advice about the approach, steps, and law. In a consulting services arrangement, our attorneys may also be able to “ghost write” your court documents on your behalf, leaving the caption in your name, without flagging that there was attorney involvement.

A consulting arrangement can be beneficial if you are using mediation to resolve your family law issue — in such cases, you may not want to involve an attorney to help ensure your divorce remains amicable or to keep costs down. However, you should still seek the advice of an attorney to fully understand your legal rights when it comes to things like property issues, custody matters, spousal support, and child support.

Our skillful family law attorneys provide thorough consultations to clients prior to and during mediation sessions (appearing either at the mediation negotiation table or on the sidelines waiting to review the proposals with you before you sign any important documents).

Whatever scope you choose, we will diligently answer your questions and provide you with the help and guidance that you need to move your case forward.

To learn more about the types of representation, family law consulting, and the various legal services offered by Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP, we welcome you to contact us to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Divorce