Questions and Answers About Divorce

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Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about divorce.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PARALEGAL AND LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT (LDA)?

A “Paralegal” is an individual who is qualified by education, training, or work experience, who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney and performs work under the direction and supervision of an attorney who is an active member of the State Bar of California.

A “Legal Document Assistant” (LDA) is an individual who provides Self-Help-Services to a person who is representing themselves in a divorce or other legal matter. An LDA may also be a Paralegal and vice versa. The key difference is that the LDA does not work under the direct supervision of an attorney.

An LDA can assist you with the preparation and court processing of your legal documents for divorce or other legal matter based upon your specific request and instruction. Again, should you need any legal advice, there are many attorneys in the local area that you may consult with for a consultation to obtain legal advice to help enable you to reach a full agreement and make well-informed decisions as to how you wish to have our service prepare your case and address all matters involved in your case.  You have reached a full agreement you can utilize our service to prepare and process your legal documents for divorce and/or other family law matters without having to actually hire the attorney. However, should you wish to hire the attorney, you are welcome to do so.

WHY DO PEOPLE USE A LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT?

The primary reason people use a Legal Document Assistant (LDA) is to save money. Attorneys can be costly, often charging an average of $400.00 per hour or greater with an average retainer of $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 to begin your case.

Another reason why people use a Legal Documents Assistant (LDA) is to get through the legal process of divorce or other family law matter as amicably and smoothly as possible by working together on a collaborative level. Unfortunately, in some cases where attorneys are involved, especially divorce and other family law related matters can become complex, emotions become heightened and the situation may become more confrontational and costly.

By utilizing a Legal Document Assistant (LDA), you can save substantial money while obtaining professional assistance in preparing and filing all legal documents necessary for your divorce and/or other family law related case.

Our service can prepare all legal documents necessary for both spouses when entering into a full agreement.

Our rates are very competitive, especially for the level of experience and quality of service we provide. We understand that finances can be more limited for some of our clients and because of this we offer a payment plan to allow our clients the ability to make scheduled payments that are comfortable for them and their financial situation.

WHAT SHOULD I BE LOOKING FOR IN A PARALEGAL OR LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT SERVICE?

  • Experience
  • Professionalism
  • Confidentiality
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Efficiency
  • Affordability
  • Reliability and follow through from start to finish
  • Professional Office Environment

A qualified Paralegal or Legal Document Assistant service should have many years of experience in the field they practice, should be efficient in how they handle your case and should be providing services at an economical rate for the quality of service they are providing.

At Priority One Legal we pride ourselves in having Legal Document Assistants and Paralegals with a vast depth of knowledge in preparing and completing our clients’ divorce and family law related cases efficiently and in providing our clients with quality service at an economical cost!

WILL I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT ME?

Whether you should retain an attorney to represent you would depend on your needs, the complexity of your divorce or family law related case, and if you and the other party are in full agreement with everything involved in your case.  In many cases, it is possible to represent yourself, especially when there are no hearings required and both parties in the action are in agreement with all matters involved.

Should you require legal advice, you can always consult with an attorney to obtain advice and to help enable you to reach a full agreement and make well-informed decisions as to how you wish to have our service prepare your case and address all matters involved in your case.  Once you have reached a full agreement, you can utilize our service to prepare and process your legal documents for divorce and/or other family law matters without having to actually hire the attorney. However, should you wish to hire the attorney, you are welcome to do so.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO “COMPLETE” MY CASE?

The length of time it takes to complete your case will depend on the type of case you are filing, if the case remains fully agreeable and the courthouses casload.

In California, for example, the soonest you can terminate your marital status is 6 months and 1 day from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the Respondent (other party).  The time it takes to terminate your marital status could also be affected if the court is backlogged, your case in no longer in full agreement, or is contested by the other spouse.

WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?

Whether you will need to go to court will depend on the type of case you are filing, the issues involved, and how efficiently the parties in the action move on their case. In most divorces, legal separations and other types of cases that the parties are in full agreement, you will rarely need to appear in court provided that your documents are prepared correctly and are processed in a timely manner.

In contested cases, you will typically have to appear in court, unless you and the opposing party can reach a full agreement in a reasonable amount time.

In cases where parties wish to modify existing orders or the case becomes contested and the parties are unable to reach an agreement, you will usually have to appear in court. Additionally, should you request that documents be filed with the court to set a hearing date to address any matters you are requesting through the court, your appearance in court will be required.

In order for our service to assist you, both parties will need to be in full agreement with everything involved and everything required procedurally to process your case as a full agreement.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED IN USING A LEGAL DOCUMENT ASSISTANT?

While the cost of using a Legal Document Assistant is substantially less than the majority of attorneys, the exact cost is determined on a case by case basis during the consultation.

In addition to the fees for our services, in many cases there will be court filing fees, based upon the type of case you are filing with the court. This fee varies and will also be discussed during the consultation appointment.

Once we have the opportunity to discuss your case with you in detail, we can determine exactly what fees will be involved for our service to assist you. Rest assured that there are no “hidden costs” and our fees are very competitive and reasonable for the high level of expertise and services you will receive when working with our office.

Let our experienced Paralegals and Legal Document Assistants assist you in preparing your documents right the first time!