Wisconsin Pro Se Divorce Representation - Limited Lawyer Help
What is Pro Se Representation?
The term “pro se” is Latin for “on one’s own behalf.” As the term implies, pro se litigants represent themselves in a legal proceeding.
Over the last 15 years, there has been an explosion in the number of cases involving pro se litigants, particularly in family law and divorce cases. The primary reason so many people choose to represent themselves? Cost. With the typical divorce in Wisconsin averaging a little over $11,000, of which nearly $9,000 are attorney fees, cost is a plenty good reason to want to handle your divorce pro se.
Pro Se Representation Pros and Cons
Obviously, the biggest benefit of representing yourself is not having to pay an attorney. In divorces where both parties agree to the divorce and have already decided between themselves how to handle the division of assets and debt, pro se representation can save both sides a lot of money.
However, pro se representation is not recommended in cases where divorce is contested or where there are disagreements over child custody or the division of assets and debts. Such high-conflict cases are better served by full legal representation, particularly if the other spouse has full legal representation.
For most pro se litigants, the biggest downside is dealing with all the documents that have to be filed with the court, as well as the court appearances. All too often, the legalese is overwhelming and they fail to submit complete paperwork on a timely basis, which ends up delaying the court’s final decree of divorce.
Limited Scope Representation Bridges Gap Between Pro Se and Full Legal Representation
Limited scope representation (aka “unbundled legal services”) is a way for litigants to get legal advice and representation from an attorney on an as-needed basis. The costs and fees for this limited scope representation are typically much lower than the typical Milwaukee area attorney’s hourly rate.
Although you will still be considered a pro se litigant in your case, limited scope representation provides you the expertise of an attorney to review and prepare documents and correspondence, and coach you on court appearances.
Is Limited Scope Representation Right for You?
The ideal candidate for limited scope representation is someone with a short-term marriage, modest assets and debts, and no children. Basically, the less there is for the two of you to argue about, the greater the odds you can work out most of the difficult decisions on your own.
In a best-case scenario, you and your soon-to-be ex have already outlined who gets what and all you need is a little legal help to make sure all your paperwork is in order. If this describes your situation, limited scope representation will serve you well.
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