DIY -- or Do It Yourself -- legal services are a more affordable way to manage your family law case. Basically, instead of a lawyer taking on your entire case, the lawyer breaks up your case into smaller pieces and allows you to choose what you want their help with.

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Why do DIY? Simple – it gives you – the client – more control over your case and how you spend your money. Before I explain how DIY law works, I’ll give you an overview of how traditional legal services work. When you hire a traditional lawyer, she will typically take a retainer which can be anything from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. This is kind of a guarantee that you will pay your bills. When she starts working on your case, she’ll bill you against your retainer at her hourly rate, which is typically between $200 and $500 per hour. Because she manages every part of your case – emails to the court and the other person, drafting documents, time spent communicating with you – your retainer will likely be spent pretty quickly. At that point, you will need to pay more to replenish your retainer. There’s nothing wrong with that model – it’s worked for a long time for a lot of people.

However, that doesn’t work for many regular people who are in the low to middle income category because we need to be able to plan our expenses. We have credit card limits, rent payments, and childcare expenses. That’s why I use the DIY model. Instead of having me – the lawyer – manage every part of your case, I break up your case into smaller pieces and let you – the client decide what you want to do yourself and what you want my help with.

So how do you know if you can DIY your case? Can you use a computer? Keep track of dates on your calendar? Send emails and use the phone to call people? If so, you’re ready to DIY. In many places in Colorado, more than 80% of folks with family law cases DIY.

Family law cases are generally broken up into four stages: the first stage is just starting your case; filing the petition and response. The second stage is financial disclosures. This is where you and the other person will exchange information about what you own and what you owe. If you or the other person’s finances are complex or you’re not getting enough information, you may need to go through the discovery or information gathering process. Next, you and the other person will file documents with the court showing what you each want to have happen with your case and you will go to mediation to see if you can reach a resolution without going to court. Finally, if you cannot reach a compromise with the other person, you will need to go to court for a hearing. This is where you present your evidence to the judge and the judge decides what happens.

Now managing the entire court process on your own might sound like a lot, but if you can get a lawyer to help you through it and provide you specific advice on what steps to take, which forms to fill out, and when to file them, you will find that you’re up to the task. And you’ll save thousands of dollars – if not tens of thousands – in the process. And if you do end up going to a court hearing, you can always hire a lawyer just to present your case for you.

At Bluebird Law, you start with an advice and support subscription where I will give you a full case coaching session, meaning that we will review the entire process together, go over facts specific to your case and how they may impact strategy, and specific next steps, links to forms, and resources to help you understand the process. Then, you’ll get up to three emails or phone calls per month with me to ask any questions that may come up or to have me review forms that you’ve drafted yourself. If you find that you need some extra help, you can hire me to draft forms for you, to represent you during mediation, or to represent you in court. And the best thing is that you’ll know how much it will cost up front with no surprises.

Get started today by booking a consultation.