‘Have any tips for representing yourself in family court? Have any success stories of pro se litigants?
First, my answer comes from the perspective of a divorce lawyer. Consider the source as you read my answer, sure, but don’t discount my answer because I am a divorce lawyer (yes, divorce lawyers have a well-deserved reputation for being dishonest, but not all of us are in fact dishonest and those of us who are honest and sincere can teach you a few things that will benefit you).
Second, you need to know that there are plenty of people out there who are not lawyers but who can learn and understand how to represent themselves (that’s what pro se means—representing oneself in court instead of with a lawyer’s help and representation). You do not have to be a lawyer to learn the ropes. It’s hard to learn the ropes, but it can be done.
Third, even though people can learn and understand how to represent themselves in court without a lawyer, this does not necessarily mean that you can successfully proceed pro se. Indeed, few pro se parties take the time, have the smarts and the charm, and make the effort to succeed pro se. Are there some successful pro se parties? Yes. Are they rare and exceptional? Absolutely.
Fourth, even if you hire an attorney “just for looks” in court, just to be taken seriously in court, even though you do all the work, gather up all the evidence, and make all the arguments, there are many judges who either just won’t take a pro se party seriously or treat pro se parties with outright hostility and prejudice. So as long as your attorney is good enough to stay out of your way and not do your case harm, the appearance of being represented by your attorney (even though you’re both the brain and the brawn behind your case) if often one of the best investments you can make in your case’s success.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277