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What does limited scope representation really mean?

San Diego, CA |
Filed under: Family law

In a family law case that is multi-faceted, what does it mean when an attorney file a substitution of attorney from full representation to limited scope? What code sections apply? My Ex is now demanding I do not deal with the attorney yet the attorney is filing motions outside of the "limited scope" that was identified in the substitution notice! How do I redress this? Who do I serve? Do I serve my ex for some issues and the attorney for others? (please do not say serve both as this entails a huge amount of wasted time and expense)

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Well the best practice is to serve both; if this is out of question and you have to pick one, then I would rather serve the attorney over serving your husband. You need to write a letter to the attorney demanding to detail the scope of her/his representation and act accordingly.

    This response will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Sarieh Law Offices, and is not intended to serve as a legal advice in your specific circumstances. This response is a legal opinion based solely on facts represented and you should not rely on this legal opinion as a legal advice. You still need to consult an attorney directly to fully protect your legal rights.

  2. Given that limited scope representation is very new, there are no simple answers to your questions. Unfortunately, you know the answer but just don't like it.

    it is simply a fact that litigation causes any inconvenience and expense. In this case, serving both parties and counsel is probably the least amount of inconvenience and expense you will encounter.

    Ms. Straus (aka Carroll) may be reached at 800-400-8978 during regular business hours, Pacific Time, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Straus’ responses to questions posted on Avvo are intended as helpful information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are not to be relied upon as a final legal opinion. It may not be what you wished to hear, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Straus is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him or her. Me Straus provides “unbundled” services if you need specific assistance with a specific issue.

  3. You appear to be confused. An attorney can't file a Substitution of Attorney from full representation to limited scope. If you hired your attorney on a limited scope basis, there must be a Notice of Limited Scope Representation filed and served on the other party, and in that case, the attorney represents you only to the extent of the scope set forth in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation - you represent yourself on matters outside that scope. You should call your attorney to get clarification from him/her regarding whether he/she represents you on all matters, or only on matters set forth in a Notice of Limited Scope Representation, and get a copy of that Notice from your attorney if such a Notice was filed and served. If you are representing yourself outside of that limited scope, you should have documents served on the adverse attorney (or party if the other party isn't represented). You could serve a courtesy copy on your Limited Scope attorney, but that is not required.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  4. Read the limited scope agreement. You can deal directly with your ex's attorney as to any issue that the attorney represents your ex. I advise you to meet with the Family Law Facilitator to get free assistance in self-representation from someone who can see directly (not through your filtering) what your ex's attorney is doing.

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