Hiring an attorney can be expensive. One idea to save money is hiring an attorney for a certain issue in your family law case. This is referred to as a “Limited Appearance.” Sometimes this is referred to as the “unbundling” of legal services. By narrowing down the purpose you are hiring an attorney, you could save money on attorney’s fees. For instance, you could hire an attorney only to resolve issues of getting past-due child support. Under Florida Family Law Rule 12.040 an attorney can make a limited appearance for this one purpose.
Examples of when to use a limited appearance attorney
Although an attorney can help you at any phase of a lawsuit, common examples of when a notice of limited appears is used include:
- Motion for contempt
- Reviewing paperwork before filing in court
- Representation at mediation.
How to hire your attorney.
You and your attorney must come to an agreement with him/ her as to the scope of the representation. Also, be sure to write down the terms (scope) of your attorney’s representation. This will be helpful if there is a dispute later over what was agreed to.
As the client, you must also sign a “Consent to Limited Appearance.” Similar to the notice of limited appearance, it must contain:
- Your name and whether you are the petitioner or respondent.
- You attorney’s name.
- What issues your attorney will be representing you for.
This must be filed with the court as well as the other party or his/ her attorney.
Making it official-filing notice of limited appearance.
Very similarly, to the consent form you just completed, your attorney must file a “Notice of Limited Appearance.” On this form he/she will list:
- Name of the attorney
- Who he/she represents.
- How he/she is limiting his appearance to a specific hearing and issue
- Contact information.
This tells the court, other parties, and other lawyers why he was hired. He/she will file this with the clerk of the circuit court in which the case is pending. He should provide you and the other party with a copy.
Ending the limited appearance.
Your attorney must also ask to withdraw from the case once the work agreed to is complete. An attorney normally files a motion to withdraw including the reasons and most often the court will approve. Moreover, until the court enters an order, the attorney remains your lawyer.
Hiring an attorney for one or a few issues can save you money. It is important to have a clear agreement as to the scope of his/ her representation. Your attorney should then complete all required paperwork. He then should notify the court and the other lawyers and party of his part in the case. Your attorney will remain on the case until he gets the okay from the court to withdraw.
If you need help with hiring a limited appearance attorney contact Family Attorney Joel Lipinski at 727-643-8964 or complete the form below. Also, check out other blog posts here.