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Divorce & Relationship Coach

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July 12 2003
May 4 2004

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Clients Representing Themselves:
Going Pro Se!

THE PROBLEM

In the past, the idea of someone representing themselves in a divorce case was simply unheard of. Today, increasing numbers of people are deciding to go pro se and represent themselves in divorce court. The decision to "go it alone" seems to be related to three factors:

  • the high cost of legal representation ($150/hour plus) for divorce
  • the desire to take control over one's own affairs
  • the increase in the number of contested divorces that involve custody battles

Considering that one's fate often rests with a judge who knows NOTHING about the client and his or her children (except for what is contained in divorce court documents), many people feel that all things being equal, they will opt to present their own case to the court.

During the past few years, I have seen a number of clients achieve considerable success on their own in divorce court even against some well known lawyers. The clients who tend to do the best in court, have two things in common:

  • they have a good case
  • they are well prepared and knowledgeable about the legal aspects of divorce and the court process

The latter point is extremely important because your case can be made or broken on the basis of your understanding of procedure. More importantly, if you want to be on an equal playing field with a lawyer who knows the "tricks of the trade", you better inform yourself.

THE SOLUTION

Representing yourself in divorce court is a difficult challenge, but certainly one that can be managed if you are well prepared and confident in your own ability. For those who make the decision to appear in court on their own behalf, the following might be useful tips:

  • sit in on a divorce and custody trial and observe what goes on
  • familiarize yourself with the family law process particularly those which involves custody cases (i.e., filing documents, scheduling, making motions etc.
  • familiarize yourself with the case law that may be relevant to your case
  • find a mentor who can objectively give you feedback and guidance on your case particularly on legal procedure as well as on issues that relate to your custody case (i.e., parental alienation syndrome, domestic abuse, false allegations of sexual abuse) - the problem with being directly involved in your own divorce and custody case is that you run the risk of losing objectivity

HOW DR. REENA SOMMER & ASSOCIATES CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE TO PRO SE CLIENTS?

Over the years, there has been an increasing demand for mentoring in divorce and custody cases. Many of these cases have found their way to our offices. Although we are not lawyers , we are knowledgable about matters that pertain to custody and access decisions. Our involvement in divorce and custody matters have put us in touch with what is current in the field and how the courts have been behaving. We are also able to assist clients in assessing the status of their custody concerns and in making decisions about which arguments to advance in court. Finally, we are able to conduct literature searches on family related issues such as parental alienation syndrome, domestic abuse, addictions, sexual abuse as well as legal research on case law to assist clients in their court presentation.

Again, the decision is yours alone to "go it alone". However, if you decide to represent yourself in your divorce, we can provide you with the back-up you will likely need.



QUESTION!

Did You Find This Information Helpful?

Dear Friend:

I sincerely hope you did. If you know of someone you think would benefit from what you just read, please forward this web page to them.

I've developed a number of ebooks and ecourses that may be of interest to you. They contain very useful information on a variety of topics related to divorce, custody and extramarital affairs.

I invite you to take a few minutes to check them out. You won't be sorry. Just click on any of the product covers on the sidebar to the left.

Have a nice day...

Dr. Reena