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Orange County Family Law Attorney

21st June 2011
By Brooks Foreman in Family Law
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Many divorcing people use a self-help book, grab a cup of coffee, and start filling out their own papers. While the books usually give general information, divorces are generally state specific and the book should at a minimum be tailored to the state in which the divorce is taking place. Again, with this service option, you are doing all of the work but paying nothing out of pocket (and giving yourself a legal education at the same time).

As a step away from the "do it yourself" approach, many people try using a legal assistant divorce service. In California, these people are called "legal document assistants" and are regulated under Business and Professions Code section 6400 et seq. While the freelance legal assistants may call themselves other names, such as a divorce assistant or a divorce paralegal, if they are a person other than an attorney offering forms preparation services for a fee, they are subject to the code. When choosing a legal document assistant it is important to make sure these people are truly licensed and regulation compliant. Many are not compliant with the law and have not met even the minimum educational requirements or have the state mandated consumer protections in place to perform as legal document assistants. Even if you have a licensed legal document assistant, they often (unwittingly or not) give legal advice, which is the unlicensed practice of law, a crime. It is natural to seek advice during a divorce and more often than not, a legal document assistant will succumb to the temptation by giving the advice, though they might say it is just "friendly" advice and not "legal" advice (as if the label made a difference). Legal document assistants are supposed to fill out the forms according to your direction. No more and no less. Legal advice is something they cannot give, and the good ones will strictly adhere to that policy and refer you out to an attorney if necessary. Legal assistants usually do the legwork for you by taking care of filing the documents and serving the papers (if necessary), either themselves or through another service like process server.

A last divorce service option that parties may consider is using an actual attorney to prepare the parties' uncontested divorce papers. Let's face it, a large part of the cost of divorce is the actual litigation and not the actual form filling. If the parties contemplate a friendly settlement and have no worries about each others' honesty and accuracy regarding financial disclosures, then an "attorney document preparer" can be a cost effective option for an uncontested divorce. With an attorney preparing the divorce papers, one need not worry about the unlicensed practice of law. Additionally, an attorney document preparer should understand the law and can draft the parties' marital settlement agreement in accordance with current divorce law. Many attorneys offer document preparation only services for prices comparable to or slightly more than what you might pay a legal document preparer. An attorney should also be able to do all of the legwork in filing and serving the documents so that the parties should have to go to court.

Out of all of the above divorce service options, having an attorney preparing your divorce documents can be the most cost effective solution, as you should have the highest quality of work for only a slight increase in price. Though not all attorneys will offer this service, many do.

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Are you looking for an Orange County Family Law Attorney? Look no further than The Law Offices Of John H. Morkos, Esq. at Family Law Attorney Orange County
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