Should I represent myself in my own divorce? Nobody wants to hire a family lawyer. There are family law resources with instructions (you will find a link on this website to the family law forms) available for free online. There are other paid online resources,that are also available with instructions on how to represent yourself in court.
Should you represent yourself in your own case?
The free Supreme Court forms that are available online are ambiguous and lacking in language needed for enforceability and protection. Most divorces are simply not amenable to fill-in-the-blank. It is incredibly easy to get it wrong, even for an inexperienced lawyer. Omit important language in a document or use the wrong language and you probably won’t be able to fix the problem after the divorce. If you have a child, real estate, a business, debt (such as credit card debt), or a pension–the consequences can be financially and emotionally devastating. Do it wrong and you will affect a bankruptcy or a foreclosure action.
Online services that provide tutorials on how to represent yourself are helpful for anyone finding themselves in family court. Unfortunately, the same problem arises, documents are not prepared for you, they are generic for use by everyone.
Even an excellent tutorial cannot teach you:
- the rules of evidence. The most important facts of your case may never be considered by the judge because you didn’t present them properly.
- the facts about your particular judge. A good lawyer knows the law–a great lawyer knows the judge.
- how to negotiate effectively. Negotiations between spouses are delicate because of the raw feelings that are there, even if below the surface.
- the rules. Pro-se litigants, like attorneys, must follow the particular judge’s procedures, the administrative orders issued by the circuits, the rules of civil procedure, the rules of family court procedure, the case law, and of course, the statutes.
- how to be a trial lawyer. You don’t know what to say in a courtroom or when to say it. You don’t know which fact is important to the judge and which fact, although very important to you, is legally irrelevant.
- how to be objective. You cannot rid yourself of the emotion that comes with a case in family court because you are living through it.
The fact is that a family law case involves the most important legal relationships of your life. You can’t afford not to have a good lawyer by your side.
If you simply can’t afford a family lawyer, call us at 561-820-0811 or Contact Me if you want us to prepare your Supreme Court Approved Family Law forms properly for a flat rate. There is no legal representation involved for document preparation services. Hablo español.