There are a number of different ways that a client can receive help from an attorney.
When you ask an attorney to represent you in a matter, then they are responsible for managing your case, giving you advice and counsel, representing you to the other party (and their attorney) and entering their appearance with the Court.
Mediation is where a neutral professional mediator assists the parties (and their attorneys if applicable) to reach agreement on issues.
Collaborative law is the process whereby each of the parties to a case contract with a collaboratively trained attorney. You agree with your attorney that they cannot represent you in court, but will help you reach an agreement using the collaborative law model.
Early Neutral Evaluation
In an early neutral evaluation, sometimes called early neutral assessment, an attorney will act as a neutral party to make recommendations relating to your divorce. Along with a mental health professional, we will listen to your concerns. You and your spouse will each have an opportunity to present your version of the situation.
After hearing both sides of the story, we will make recommendations based on what is best for you and your family. You and your spouse can then choose to accept or reject our recommendations. Early neutral evaluation can be especially helpful when children are involved. Your children will feel less stress if you come to an agreement with your spouse without resorting to court.
Consultation (Unbundled Services)
In the “limited representation” or “unbundled legal assistance” model of conflict resolution, the client acts as his or her own case manager and takes primary responsibility for the divorce, making use of legal counsel on an “as needed” basis to help in resolving specific issues, talking with witnesses or experts, attending mediation, and drafting documents such as pleadings, child support worksheets, and financial affidavits. The lawyer can also negotiate issues with the other party or lawyer as well as advise the client when needed.
Arbiters listen to both sides of a case and make a decision that is binding on both parties. This is similar to going to court, but is often quicker and less expensive than the court process.