Clients Representing Themselves:
Going Pro Se!
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:
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.
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
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
HOW DR. REENA SOMMER & ASSOCIATES CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE TO PRO SE CLIENTS?
Over the years, there has been an increasing demand
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
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.
Did You Find This Information Helpful?
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...