Have any tips for representing yourself in family court? Do you have a success story as a pro se litigant?
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 (I 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 do all (or most of) the work, gather up all the evidence, and make all the arguments, you may want to hire an attorney “just for looks” in court, just to be taken seriously in court because your judge may be one who does not take a pro se party as seriously as a represented party. 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