Navigating the court system without the assistance of a divorce attorney can be difficult in normal circumstances. With the added uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important now more than ever for pro se parties to seek alternative forms of representation.
Appearing pro se simply means that you are appearing on your own behalf, without an attorney. Usually, there is legal aid available to pro se parties; however, the courts, along with the self-help centers inside, are closed for the foreseeable future. Some courts are now advising that parties without family law attorneys consider obtaining limited representation, or unbundled legal services.
Limited-scope representation is when your lawyer handles only some parts of your case, as compared to a traditional relationship where the attorney handles all aspects of your case. Unbundled representation is a way for you to choose, a-la-carte, what legal services your attorney can provide you. You can mix-and-match the specific tasks your attorney is completing for you. If you need to simply consult with a divorce lawyer and get legal advice about your case on a as-needed basis, that can be the limited scope of your attorney’s representation. Your attorney can also coach you how to represent yourself pro se, and can help with preparing your case. An unbundled service can also provide document drafting and reviewing. Similarly, you can hire a lawyer to represent you on only certain issues in your case, such as an emergency motion or child support, while you do the rest.
Courts are encouraging parties to get as much legal assistance as they can during this pandemic, as your attorney can file documents electronically and will receive immediate case updates. If both parties in a case are represented, the Court may be able to enter final orders based on the filing of agreements and non-appearance affidavits. Otherwise, you may be left waiting until the Court resumes normal operating procedures.
Your divorce attorney can always enter a full-scope representation in your case if it is necessary, but if you were planning to file pro se and the courts have instructed you to obtain unbundled legal services to file during this time, call us to learn more at 720-542-6142 or fill out our contact form here.