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Better Know Family Law if You Plan to Represent Yourself

Thinking about going to court alone?  If you plan to represent yourself, consider this:  a recent Divorce Corp poll asked "If you ever tried to represent yourself, was the judge biased against you for not understanding the law or courtroom procedure?"

Only 5% of the respondents answered "No, the judge was helpful and patient". Five percent?  That means 95% of the folks who go to court without attorney representation did not find the judge to be "helpful or patient."  

The remaining respondents were spread among the other 3 choices:

  • "Yes, the Judge turned against me for not knowing the proper procedures" (46%)
  • "Yes, the judge seemed annoyed at me" (32%)
  • "Yes, in fact, the judge told me to hire a lawyer" (16%)

First, if you are not familiar with Divorce Corp; do a quick internet search. It is part of the national grassroots movement to reform the U.S. family law system. It fits very nicely alongside both our traditional practice and that of our Justice Café.

The reality is, regardless of whether it causes bias for the Judge, not understanding the law or courtroom procedure will bias your case. The judge is not under an obligation to assist you in understanding the law or courtroom procedure and is limited in what they can do to assist. You have the right to represent yourself, but you are expected to know the law and courtroom procedure, if you do so.  

There's a lot on the line when you are involved in a family law matter.  Choose wisely, choose affordably and save yourself the biggest cost of all:  losing.

- David Purvis

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