There is something new in Massachusetts. Now you can hire a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. Why is this being allowed now? Money, that's why.
Hiring a lawyer is expensive. Often people will forego hiring a lawyer because of the cost. Those that can scrape together the money to hire a lawyer are often shocked and dismayed at how fast the lawyer's bill mounts up. Time in court, preparation, meetings, legal research, drafting documents all add to the cost. Until recently, you could not hire a lawyer just to go to court once, help you just with the papers for court, or just to give you advice for a case you wanted to handle yourself. Now you can.
Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) is allowed in some of the courts in Massachusetts. One of those courts is the Probate and Family Court. That means you can use limited assistance representation in divorce, paternity, child support, custody, parenting time (visitation), modifications, and many more cases. Lawyers that want to do LAR in Massachusetts have to qualify for it and sign up with each court that the lawyer wants to do LAR work in.
You can call around to lawyers and ask them if they do limited assistance representation or you can go on the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court website http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/lar.html and click on the county where your case is, or will be, for a list of lawyers that do LAR in that court. Next, call up one or more of those lawyers and either make an appointment or discuss it over the phone. Many lawyers do not charge for the first appointment.
Once you decide on a lawyer, you and he or she will discuss your case. You will then decide just what you want the lawyer to help you with. You can have your lawyer just give you advice or draw up legal documents or go with you to court for just one day or any combination of the above. You and your lawyer will then both sign a contract that states what the lawyer will do and how much it will cost. Lawyers often require payment in advance, called a retainer, before they will begin work. Retainers are very common in cases that are in court or will go to court.
After the lawyer has done what you wanted him or her to do, he or she steps out of the case. You are done paying and the lawyer is done working. You can always hire your lawyer to do more in future, even on the same case, if that is what you want.
I do limited assistance representation in the Probate and Family Court located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This court "covers" all of Berkshire County. If you want to learn more about LAR or discuss having me help you, please call me, Peter C. Alessio, at (413) 822-0704 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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