Limited Assistance Representation(LAR), also called “unbundled legal services,” allows a lawyer to provide limited legal assistance to a client. Each LAR agreement looks different depending on the client’s needs, ranging from representation at a single Court hearing to document drafting to consultation services only. The La Vita Law Center offers cost-effective LAR in the family law context.
Mediation is where the parties jointly consult a trained, neutral third party in an effort to resolve their problems amicably. A mediator does not give legal advice, but rather provides information and a forum for the parties to reach an agreement while keeping control of their own decisions and lives. In divorce mediation, the parties work together toward an agreement that can be presented to the Court as part of an uncontested divorce. In marital mediation, parties who do not want to divorce work together toward an agreement that will help them to stay married, yet details their obligations and rights in the event of a divorce. If an agreement can be reached in divorce mediation or marital mediation, the La Vita Law Center will assist the parties to draft the necessary documents to memorialize the agreement.
Litigation is when a party brings a claim in a Court. The Court puts the parties on a “track,” and orders the parties to appear for certain hearings at certain points in the process. Unless an agreement can be reached, the parties eventually try their case in a Court before a Judge. In a divorce, at certain stages including after trial the Judge will make decisions for the parties regarding child custody, property division, and more. The La Vita Law Center offers litigation services in family law matters, with an eye toward negotiation and settlement short of trial in order to allow clients to maintain more control of the outcome.
Collaborative Law is another way for divorcing parties to keep control of the decisions made about themselves and their family in a divorce. Each party to a collaborative divorce hires a collaboratively trained lawyer to represent them. The parties, the lawyers, and often a neutral “coach” work together in voluntary, transparent, collaborative meetings to reach an agreement. Other professionals such as accountants, financial planners, or child specialists may be involved in the process. There are no Court appearances or hearings until the parties are ready to submit their agreement to the Court for approval. The La Vita Law Center is trained to assist clients with collaborative divorce.
Guardian ad Litem services can be requested by either party or ordered by the Court in a divorce proceeding when children are involved. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a trained, neutral fact-finder who will investigate the facts of a particular case and report back to the Court. A GAL investigation typically includes home visits and interviews with parents, children, and collateral contacts. The GAL’s Report focuses primarily on the fitness of the parents and the needs and interests of the children, including for custody and parenting time. The La Vita Law Center is available for appointments as a GAL in family law cases in the Probate and Family Court. We can also help prepare clients who are involved in a GAL investigation.
Document drafting and review services are available to clients of the La Vita Law Center. We at the La Vita Law Center draft complaints and motions in a litigation context, as well as separation agreements in the role of either lawyer or mediator. We are also available to review an agreement reached through mediation. It is always wise to have a document you intend to sign be reviewed by a lawyer to make sure that your interests and rights are protected.