By Gianna Huesch
A relatively recent development in the legal industry has been the popularising of “unbundling” legal services. Unbundling refers to the provision of legal assistance where the lawyer’s role is limited to a number of agreed services, compared with the traditional method of engaging a family lawyer to act for you from initial instructions to settlement or final court proceedings.
Whether you need assistance with a single issue or partial aspect of a case, or general help with the court or mediation process, unbundling can be a very attractive option given the reduction in costs involved, because you do much of the work of the matter yourself and only bring in a lawyer when you really need one. It’s especially suitable for divorcing couples who have ‘done a deal’ themselves and just want the paperwork drawn up.
It’s described as “client-led” or “client-centric”, because you retain control, using and paying only for those services you choose, and deciding which issues you want to negotiate. But this freedom also brings responsibility: for example, the onus is on you to gather all the information you need, ensure you file on time, and represent yourself in court if necessary. While your lawyer drafts letters and documents and reviews letters and documents you have prepared, they don’t communicate with third parties, accept service of documents, send letters out in their firm’s name, incur disbursements or go on the court record.
At Alliance, our unbundled services include a purely online package for the drafting of parenting plans, consent orders, binding financial agreements and binding child support agreements. We can work for clients throughout Australia as no physical appointments are needed. Instead, we make use of electronic client portals, enabling our clients to view, edit and upload documents easily and cost-effectively. Information can also be shared with ex-partner quickly and easily using the client portals.
We can prepare documents with or without providing legal advice (other than binding financial agreements and binding child support agreements where it is mandatory). If you choose to receive legal advice, it may cover things like:
- advising you on the key issues you will need to be particularly careful about;
- what the critical dates are for you to be aware of;
- when you will be required to make a court appearance;
- whether you need to be exchanging any disclosure with your ex-partner;
- the risks involved in self-representation;
- if there’s anything you are asking us to do that you could be doing yourself to save time and money;
- a comprehensive explanation of the alternatives available to you if you are stuck on a point;
- a comprehensive explanation of advantages and disadvantages of your ex-partner’s proposal; and
- coaching on negotiation tactics.
If you think this may be a good way for you to handle your family law matter, please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400 so we can discuss your needs more specifically and give you information on our discounted rates.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please call Alliance for an initial cost-free conference.