About the Office
The Law Office of Christine Nguyen Thomas is a Family Law Office dedicated to excellence in legal counsel and committed to making legal services accessible and affordable for self-represented litigants. Ms. Thomas’ practice is devoted exclusively to handling non-litigated family law matters: she specializes in and handles cases that do not go to court.
Ms. Thomas’ office offers Limited Scope Representation, or unbundled legal services, for clients who need assistance with their divorce case but do not need or cannot afford to hire a full representation attorney. Ms. Thomas can assist you with your non-contested family law case, where you and your spouse agree on all, or most, terms of the case. She can also assist you with your contested family law case, where you and your spouse do not agree on all the terms, but you hope to reach a resolution without going to court.
CHRISTINE NGUYEN THOMAS
Attorney at Law
Ms. Thomas is a Family Law Attorney with 15 years’ experience in Family Law and has devoted her practice exclusively to Family Law for over a decade in Ventura County. She practiced at a boutique family law firm in Westlake Village for ten years before opening her own office in Oxnard. Her practice is focused on divorce cases in the Ventura Superior Court.
Ms. Thomas earned her Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law in 2003 and her B.A. in Psychology and Economics from UCSB in 2000. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in December 2003.
Ms. Thomas is a licensed and active member of the State Bar. She is also a member of the Family Law sections of the California Lawyers Association and the Ventura County Bar Association.
Family Law Practice Areas
At the Law Office of Christine Nguyen Thomas, an experienced Divorce Lawyer is available to assist you with an array of Family Law matters.
- Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)
- Legal Separation
- Child Custody
- Parenting Plans
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Property Division
- Petition & Response
- Obtaining Initial Temporary Orders
- Request for Order
- Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure
- Final Declaration of Disclosure
- Income and Expense Declaration
- Schedule of Assets and Debts
- Order After Hearing
- Stipulation and Order
- Modification of Custody Order
- Modification of Support Order
- Mandatory Settlement Conference Brief
- Memorandum of Points and Authorities
- Legal Briefs
- Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”)
- Post-Judgment Modification
Limited Scope Services*
The Law Office of Christine Nguyen Thomas exclusively handles non-litigated family law cases. While Ms. Thomas does not make court appearances, her office offers extensive options for unbundled legal services and you, as the client, determine which services you need.
- Initial consultation
- Ongoing consultations
- Filing for divorce or responding to divorce
- Uncontested divorces
- Non-litigated contested divorces
- Consultations while you attend private mediation
- Filing or responding to Request for Order
- Negotiating settlements
- Review of court documents
- Drafting of court documents
- eFiling of court documents
- Legal advice
- Legal information & education
- Legal strategy
- Legal coaching
Limited Scope Representation
What is Limited Scope Representation?
Limited Scope Representation is an attorney-client relationship where the attorney and client agree that the attorney will handle certain aspects of the client’s case and the client will be responsible for the rest of the client’s case. Limited Scope Representation is also known as unbundled legal services or discrete task representation.
Unlike traditional full representation, where an attorney is retained with a large retainer deposit to handle your case from start to finish, a Limited Scope Attorney offers an alternative representation structure that is flexible to meet your individual needs and fit within your budget. A Limited Scope Attorney can handle specific discrete tasks, allowing you to handle the rest and minimize your fees. At the same time, a Limited Scope Attorney can also handle your case from start to finish, except for certain exclusions determined when you retain the attorney. For example, a Limited Scope Attorney might assist you with the property division aspect of your case but not custody and support, or the attorney might prepare the settlement agreement after you have already negotiated the terms.
Ms. Thomas can handle as little of your case as you’d like while you handle the rest, or Ms. Thomas can handle your entire case from start to finish (except for court appearances because Ms. Thomas does not litigate).
What are the Benefits of Limited Scope Representation?
Limited Scope Representation allows you to represent yourself and handle the parts of your case that you feel comfortable with, while having the benefit of an experienced Family Law Attorney by your side when you need it.
- You represent yourself (“Pro Per”).
- You retain control of your case.
- You make the decisions in your case.
- You choose which parts of your case you will handle on your own.
- An experienced Family Law Attorney helps you with only the parts of your case that you need help with.
- You have access to legal advice and assistance with the more complex aspects of your case.
- Self-represented litigants who have the benefit of legal counsel are better informed and better prepared to present their case to the court.
- Limited Scope Representation is flexible and can be tailored to meet your needs and fit within your budget.
- There is no large upfront retainer payment that is typical of full representation; you pay as you go with a small retainer deposit.
- You pay a more affordable overall fee since you only pay for the legal advice and services you need.
Is Limited Scope Representation right for you?
These are examples of situations that may be suitable for and benefit from Limited Scope services:
- Initial consultation: If you are considering filing for divorce or if you have just been served with divorce papers and you need to speak with an attorney to understand the paperwork and learn about your rights and next steps, then we can help. Our office offers one-time consultations if all you need is to meet with an attorney for an hour to have your questions answered and learn about your options on how to proceed.
- Uncontested divorces–agreement has been reached: If you and your spouse have separated and you have already done the hard work of reaching an agreement on how you would like to share custody and divide your property, then Limited Scope Representation may be ideal for your situation. Our office can assist you with preparing the appropriate court documents to finalize your case. We can draft the Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) to memorialize your agreement in writing and submit the MSA to the court for entry of judgment.
- Contested divorces–agreement can be reached: If you have not yet reached an agreement, but you feel confident that you and your spouse will be able to reach an amicable resolution in the near future, then Limited Scope Representation could be the right choice for you. Our office can provide ongoing consultations throughout your divorce, assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork along the way, help you negotiate a settlement of all issues in your case, and prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement for entry of judgment with the court.
- Parties are attending private mediation: If you and your spouse are attending private mediation, the mediator is acting in a neutral capacity and does not represent either of you. However, you are both entitled to have independent legal counsel while attending mediation. Limited Scope Representation can be of benefit to you while you attend mediation. Our office can provide ongoing consultations while you attend mediation with your spouse, and we can also assist you with reviewing any documents prepared by the mediator.
- Filing a Request for Order: If you need temporary orders (such as temporary custody orders and support orders) before your case is finalized, but you have not been able to reach an agreement with your spouse on these interim matters, then you will need to file a Request for Order (“RFO”) with the court to obtain the needed orders. Our office can help you prepare the required paperwork to file your RFO and you would make the court appearance on your own. Even after the RFO is filed, our office can still help you reach an agreement with the other side to avoid having to go to court; if court is inevitable, then you would make the court appearance on your own or retain a litigation attorney.
- Responding to a Request for Order: If a Request for Order has already been filed, our office can help you prepare the appropriate paperwork to respond to the RFO and you would make the court appearance on your own. Our office can also help you negotiate a settlement of the issues raised in the RFO and draft a written agreement to resolve the RFO so that you do not have to go to court.
- Document review: If you and your spouse have a draft Marital Settlement Agreement prepared, you may need an attorney to review the document. Whether you prepared the MSA, or it was prepared by your spouse, your spouse’s attorney, or a mediator, you would benefit from having your own attorney review the MSA. Our office can meet with you to review the agreement before you finalize the document and sign.
What Limited Scope Representation is not:
- Limited Scope Representation is not Collaborative Family Law. Collaborative Family Law is an arrangement where both parties retain their own Collaborative Family Lawyer to represent their respective interests and the parties pledge to work together to reach a resolution and not go to court. If either party later wishes to go to court, then both attorneys withdraw from the representation and the parties must each retain new independent counsel.
- Limited Scope Representation is not Mediation. Mediation is an arrangement where both parties choose to meet with a neutral mediator to help the parties reach an agreement. The mediator may or may not be an attorney, but the mediator is neutral and does not represent either party and does not provide legal advice. During the mediation process, the parties are entitled to have their own independent legal counsel. With Limited Scope Representation, Ms. Thomas can represent your interests as you go through the mediation process with your spouse and the mediator.
- Limited Scope Representation is not Dual Representation. Dual representation is an arrangement where after the parties provide informed, written consent, the parties choose to be represented by the same attorney. Normally, attorneys represent only one party and do not represent both parties because the parties have adverse interests. Under Limited Scope Representation, Ms. Thomas represents you and your interests, not your spouse’s.
Not all Family Law cases are well suited for Limited Scope Representation, including cases that involve extremely technical matters or cases that involve issues that rely on a complex analysis of the law. There could be other reasons why a case is not appropriate for Limited Scope Representation. Every case, whether complex or seemingly straightforward, is unique and requires an evaluation by an attorney to determine the appropriate type of representation. Contact the Law Office of Christine Nguyen Thomas for an initial consultation to learn more about your options so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Rates & Fees
Hourly Rate: Ms. Thomas charges an hourly rate for all legal services.
Initial Consultation Fee: The initial consultation is a one-hour meeting and is offered at a flat fee, discounted from Ms. Thomas’ regular hourly rate. Our office does not offer free consultations as we believe the consultation will be informative, and you will gain valuable knowledge and legal advice from an experienced attorney.
Please call the office for information about our rates and fees.
Filing Fees: If a document you are filing with the court requires a filing fee, you will pay that cost separately from Ms. Thomas’ hourly rate. Filing fees are paid directly to the Ventura Superior Court.
Our office accepts payment by check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
How to get started
If you need help with your family law matter and are interested in Limited Scope Representation, or unbundled legal services, we welcome you to call our office for more information. After a brief intake process, the office will schedule an appointment for you to meet with Ms. Thomas for an initial consultation. At the consultation, Ms. Thomas will listen as you describe your family law issues and concerns, and she will answer your questions and provide you with advice for your situation. You may bring any paperwork to the consultation that you would like Ms. Thomas to look at. At the end of the consultation, Ms. Thomas will be able to let you know if your case is suited for Limited Scope Representation and whether she is able to help you moving forward. If you wish to retain Ms. Thomas after the consultation, then you will be provided with a Retainer Agreement to review. The representation will commence after you and Ms. Thomas both sign the Retainer Agreement and the initial deposit payment is made.
Contact the Law Office of Christine Nguyen Thomas for a consultation with an experienced Ventura County Family Law Attorney to evaluate your divorce case and see if Limited Scope Representation, or unbundled legal services, is right for you and your Family Law matter.
Our office serves the cities of Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Ojai, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and surrounding areas in Ventura County, California.
The office is centrally located mid-county in Oxnard, in the National University building, across from The Collection shopping center and Whole Foods Market, off the 101 freeway at Oxnard Blvd.
Phone (805) 351-8866
1000 Town Center Drive, Suite 300
Oxnard, California 93036
Exit the 101 Freeway at Oxnard Blvd.
Head north toward the National University building.
Turn left on Town Center Drive.
Turn right into the parking lot at the first driveway on your right.
The office is located on the third floor.