LAR: What is Limited Assistance Representation in Family Law Matters?

By Camala A. Richardson

In Massachusetts, individuals involved in litigation have several options when going to court. An individual may represent themself which is called a Pro Se litigant. As a Pro Se litigant, the individual is acting as their own attorney and negotiates with the opposing litigant directly if the opposing litigant is Pro Se as well. However, if the opposing party has an attorney, the Pro Se litigant must negotiate directly with the attorney, inside of court and outside of court. When you are Pro Se, you are expected to know the rules and procedures just like the attorney.


What is Limited Assistance Representation?

If you are unable to afford a retainer to hire an attorney to handle your matter from beginning to end, you can hire an attorney for limited representation in the Massachusetts’ Probate and Family Courts. When an attorney works on only part of a case, this is referred to as Limited Assistance Representation (LAR). Other courts may also have this option, but you will need to check with your local court.


Woman meeting with female professional.

How does LAR work?

You and your LAR will have a written contract stating what you want the LAR to do for you. Examples of things the LAR can do for you is help you file the proper forms, attend a court hearing, and help you with evidence. Using LAR can help you save money and be more confident that you are following the Rules of Court. Should you need additional assistance than you initially contracted, speak with your LAR about additional assistance you may need.


The bottom line: Only you can determine the amount of assistance that’s right for you

If you find you need more than limited assistance, you can hire an attorney to author your documents, negotiate your position, and represent you can in court. It is only you who can determine whether it is most important to spend no money on an attorney, some money on LAR, or whatever it takes to have complete representation. It is a balance and there are pros and cons to whichever route you chose.

Camala Richardson headshot.
Author's Bio:

Camala A. Richardson attended law school at the age of 40 years old after a successful career in selling enterprise wide SaaS to Fortune 100 companies. Upon passing the bar exam, she opened, operated, and grew a family litigation firm. Today, Cam works with individuals as a coach and consultant assisting them with “How to …” and empowering them to reach their goals. Please visit our website: Family Space - Home (