Can I use a paralegal for divorce?

July 14, 2008

You can use a paralegal to prepare legal papers but not for legal advice – that would be practicing law without a license.  Paralegals can run anywhere from $50-$100 per hour (which is much better than the $200-$500 per hour charged by lawyers).

In my lengthy case (three years and counting), I have frequently used a paralegal to prepare court papers. It is simply not worth the time to prepare them myself (they have to be typed a certain way then notarized then delivered to the court) and I refuse to pay a lawyer $1000 for basic clerical work. It is well worth paying $100 for a paralegal to do the leg work.

Often I can even email drafts of my pleadings back and forth before the final version is submitted. Of course, I am now intimately acquainted with Nevada divorce law and process so I am in a good position to know what I would like to put in my documents. Paralegals simply cannot give you advice on what to ask for – but they can give you a lot of advice about the legal process and how to file documents. My advice is to read all the posts on this site then go see a paralegal to file your documents. If you need to represent yourself in court, consider using an attorney in an unbundled capacity, and failing all else, retain a lawyer (or here or here).

The difficult part is to find a paralegal who is skilled at the craft. Fortunately, the paralegal I use is simply excellent. Dads can contact Equal Rights for Divorced Fathers for a referral.


Part 5. Signing a retainer agreement

December 3, 2007

 A retainer agreement is a contract between you and your lawyer detailing your respective rights and responsibilities. The retainer is a formal contract and, as such, will guide any disputes between the parties. This means you should take it as seriously as any other contract for a serious amount of money (such as buying a house or a car). The problem is that most people are not in a very good position to understand or negotiate a contract.  This post will try to give you some pointers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Part 3. Filing for Divorce

November 14, 2007

 After my reconciliation attempt failed I officially sought to file a complaint for divorce in family court. I started by looking for organizations that could provide information and advice on the process. I found exactly one – Equal Rights for Divorced Fathers. The group offered legal advice and paralegal services at a very reasonable price (they provide a wonderful service for lower income men). They also offered an attorney panel on Tuesday night to meet father-friendly divorce attorneys.
Read the rest of this entry »