Limited Representation: A Cost-Effective Family Law Option

As the economy went south, everyone sought options to trim his or her budget.  Some people skipped Starbucks and began brewing their own coffee.  Others found creative ways to recycle their grocery bags.  Still others completely transformed their driving habits to achieve better gas mileage.  But one pronounced trend in the legal community has been the amount of people who decided to represent themselves in family court.

Unfortunately, there are often consequences to a party’s decision to save money and appear pro se (represent him or herself).  I have had many litigants come into my office after attempting to proceed with no legal counsel and finding that (a) their case had been dismissed or they face contempt of court because they did not follow proper procedure, (b) they wasted their hard-earned dollars on unnecessary fees and “money saver” programs that became obsolete once the opposing party began contesting the matter, and/or (c) their case has dragged on because they did not know how to bring their matter to conclusion.  But, alas, not everyone can afford an attorney to fully represent them.

Thankfully, Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.040 provides a cost-effective option:  limited representation.

Rather than hire an lawyer to represent you in your entire case, this rule allows attorneys to appear on a limited basis for a certain task or set of tasks.  For example, you may hire an attorney for the specific purpose of (i) drafting all documents necessary to  petition for relocation, (ii) reviewing and advising on a marital settlement agreement, or (iii) scheduling and appearing at an uncontested final hearing for paternity.

Alternatively, you may retain a marital law lawyer to advocate for you on a particular issue.  For example, in a divorce proceeding you may want an attorney to represent you on the issue of child custody while taking on the responsibility of arguing about other issues — such as alimony, child support, and division of property and debts — yourself.

Keep in mind that I strongly recommend each family law litigant hire an attorney for full representation in his or her matter.  However, the option of hiring an attorney for limited representation is certainly better than the potential pitfalls of appearing pro se.

If you want to learn more about limited representation from a family law firm that practices in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties, you may schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.

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About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Family Law Explanation, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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