In a Full Service Representation relationship, RELM attorneys become “Attorney of Record” for purposes in your family law case. This means that the court and your spouse’s counsel recognize RELM as your attorney and all correspondence, pleadings, formal discovery, filings, etc., are sent to RELM on your behalf. When represented in this capacity, we assume responsibility for all communication, tasks, court filings, and case-related deadlines regarding your case which allows you to move on with your life.
In this relationship, RELM attorneys prepare and execute a case plan to achieve the goals decided upon by the attorney and client. The attorney makes all court appearances with the client , and can appear on procedural matters to avoid the client taking unnecessary time away from their job, personal life, and family responsibilities. In court, the attorney will present the case and advocate on the client’s behalf, unless the client is required to give testimony under oath in a trial setting. In this scenario, the attorney meets with the client prior to giving such testimony to prepare the client to be calm, confident, accurate, and legally on point when presenting their side of the story.
In a Limited Scope Representation, the client and the RELM attorney structure limited attorney services by written agreement. The scope of representation ranges from legal consultation, assistance with legal procedures, and the preparation of pleadings to be filed with the court.
For example, a client may only want to hire an attorney to provide full service on one aspect of their case, like complex support but manage the remaining issues in the case on their own. The engagement agreement with the client would designate the attorney as “attorney of record” for the limited scope of providing full service on the issue of child and spousal support only. The attorney would not be attorney of record for custody, visitation, property division, or other case related issues. The client would remain self-represented for those issues and would remain responsible for court appearances, calendaring, filing of papers, meeting at deadlines, and all other responsibilities associated the legal issues outside the Limited Scope Representation agreement. However, at any time throughout the process, representation can change from Limited Scope to Full Service.
This election would require a new engagement agreement and the requisite forms to be filed with the court and served on interested parties.
In Unbundled Services or Consultation Only relationships, the RELM attorney is engaged by the individual who elects to be self-represented in their legal matter. The role of the RELM attorney to give legal advice about various steps in the family law case, to provide legal analysis based on the specific facts and law related to the case, and to provide guidance through the resolution of particular issues or the overall case. This type of arrangement works extremely well when clients are either attending mediation or working amicably to resolve the case with the other party. Clients are well prepared by the RELM attorney who provides them with an understanding the law, how the facts of their case apply to the law, and reasonable as well as creative settlement options that meet both parties’ needs.
Under this type of arrangement, the self-represented client manages the case, makes court appearances, calendars deadlines, files court papers, and handles all other responsibilities that counsel of record would normally do under Full Service Representation.
This option is attractive to clients who desire to keep control of their case, who have mutually agreed with their spouse to work cooperatively to resolve the case outside of court, and/or who do not have the financial resources to hire an attorney for a Full Service Representation.