Tonight’s post, “Do it yourself Family Law,” is written by our Lawrenceville attorney, Wesley Wilson.
At The Manely Firm, we provide every potential client with a free 30 minute consultation. These consultations are an opportunity for us to hear your issues, answer your questions, address your concerns and, frankly, make our case, why, if you are going to hire a family law attorney, you ought to hire us.
One of the most common questions I’m asked during a consultation is, “Can I possibly do this myself?”.The short answer is, “yes”. The court system allows any individual to represent themselves, which is also known as being Pro Se. There are books and on-line resources readily available which would provide you with assistance in prosecuting your case or defending yourself. Some of these sources will even provide you with forms needed to file with the court.
But is it really that simple? Is it as easy as filling out forms and presenting your facts to a judge? This time, the short answer is “no”. There is so much more to representing a client in a family law matter. It isn’t as simple as telling a judge that your client is correct and an opposing party is not. You have to know which documents to use and how to use them, what questions to ask and what to steer clear of, what to file, how to negotiate, how to address the court, and what to research, among many other things. How could you, as a non practicing attorney be expected to know all of this?
The time and energy it would take to gain that level of knowledge and experience would be overwhelming. But the court expects it. The court requires it. A good family law attorney should know all of this.
Does that mean that any attorney you hire will competently handle your case? Of course not. There are certainly bad attorneys out there. But, if the is attorney is doing his job right, something we pride ourselves on at the Manely Firm, there is no substitute. We have over 24 years of experience focusing strictly on family law and are fully confident in our ability to advocate on your behalf.
It can be overwhelming when you enter the court room. You need a professional. Someone who can expertly advocate on your behalf. Yes you can fill out a form document, but if you have a significant matter, you almost certainly need representation. I know how to change a tire, but I don’t know how to fix my engine or any other part of my car. I’d rather pay a professional and have it done right than take the chance of damaging my car.
So when I’m asked during a consultation, “Can I possibly do this myself?”, I always respond, “Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”