What is a Legal Coach?
Depending on the complexity of your case and your financial circumstances, a legal coach may be a great way to obtain assistance with your Divorce or Domestic Partnership Dissolution. Legal coaches or consulting attorney’s (similar to LC’s but usually limited to advice, strategy and assistance with drafting documents vs. a LC who may also guide you through the process of represented yourself). can be a really great way to get you through your legal action without breaking the bank or increasing animosity and distrust. You can use your LC to help you negotiate and implement a strategy, draft documents to present in court, review documents served (delivered) to you,determine and explain the practical consequences of various property division and support orders, guide you through the mediation process, file and serve documents, answering ‘process’ questions along the way and explaining local rules or formal court procedure.
Is a Legal Coach Right for Me?
We’ve compiled a list of questions for you to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to go with a coach or consulting attorney.
- Do you think most issues in your case can be worked out fairly amicably? (Kids, support, property division and equalization, debt assignment, attorney fees?)
- Do you have the time and energy to devote to being the primary ‘manager’ of your divorce?
- Are you willing to negotiate your own settlement (or go to mediation)?
- If your spouse hires a lawyer, will you feel comfortable dealing directly with him/her?
- Do you want to retain a lot of control over the process?
- Do you have good follow through?
- Can I make good decisions even while emotional?
- Will I be able to handle my (other) life and work responsibilities too?
- Do I really want a resolution (or am I just trying to reconcile with my spouse)?
- Can I make decisions and stick with them?
- Can i handle confrontation with my spouse?
- Will I commit to listening to my LC even when they tell me things I don’t want to hear?
If your answer to all (or most) of these questions is ‘yes’, you may be a great candidate for legal coaching. Do your research when choosing the right fit for you. You want a lawyer who is experienced, has handled many cases ‘unbundled’ like this, enjoys solving problems, and who can be brutally honest with you. If you start with an attorney who you don’t feel 100% comfortable with or confident about — move on!
Remember, whether you choose a legal coach, full representation, DIY divorce or mediation – none of these options are mutually exclusive. You can handle a majority of your case on your own but consult with an attorney along the way. You can have an attorney represent you for a contested issue in court but then choose to work primarily on your own with some trusted resources.
Please note that this article is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Reading this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship with Erin Levine, Levine Family Law Group or Hello Divorce. This blog is written from the perspective of existing California law and all attempts are made to be accurate and current on all legal developments.
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