Do I have a chance in divorce court without a lawyer? Do I really need one?

A chance? Sure. You have a chance. And you have a chance of winning the lottery, just not a very good chance of it.

You may not want to read the rest of my answer because I am a lawyer, so you can’t be faulted if you were to believe that my answer derives from self-interest. For what my assurances are worth, however, I assure you it does not. I am not only a lawyer but I have been a client of a lawyer as well. So here it is, it’s all you need to know, and you can confirm it’s true without having to take it on faith:

  • If people could regularly succeed in child custody battles in court without the assistance of an attorney, then people would not utilize the services of attorneys.

Otherwise stated: people do not regularly succeed in child custody battles in court without the assistance of an attorney. Frankly, even with the assistance of attorney people can often fail, but they usually fail far more often and more spectacularly.

I know that no one ever wants to hire an attorney. Very few people hire attorneys because they want one. The overwhelming majority of people who hire attorneys do so because they need one[1].

Here are some other facts that you may find helpful:

  • the legal system is a mess
  • if you are to have any real hope of succeeding with in this mess of a system, you need the guidance of someone with intimate knowledge of how the sausage is made;
  • it is not enough to know the rules, the law, and the lingo of the legal system; even if you were to read all the laws and all the rules that govern the legal system (and you can’t do that without quitting your job and spending all your weekends on the project), you would not understand them;
    • even if you did remember and understand all the laws and rules this would not help you function well within the legal system because:
      • the legal system does not follow its own rules fully and consistently;
      • the legal system is not wholly welcoming to or tolerant of those who are not lawyers

Attorneys may thus be necessary for many, many wrong reasons, but necessary nonetheless.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277


[1] and when you need one, please get a good one. The first and very best thing you can do is get a good attorney. ‘Sounds too simple, I know, but it’s the truth and simply the best advice there is. What is a “good attorney”?: one who is honorable, honest, reasonable, skilled, nobody’s fool, industrious, provides value for the money, and courageous. Not all divorce lawyers are these things, but a some who embody all of these traits do exist. Find one of them. It won’t be easy or quick (or cheap), but it’s worth the time, the effort, and yes, the money too.

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