Tips For Self Represented Family Law Litigants

Many individuals simply cannot afford to hire an attorney.  If you are in a position where you cannot afford to hire an attorney, here are some basic tips and recommendations to assist you in your self-representation:

  • Make sure all your written forms and statements are complete, neat, and filed on time. Make sure you know the deadlines for filing.

  • The main way the Judge learns about your case is through the forms that you submit to the Court. Even if you are using a self-help center, make sure all of the forms are correctly filled out and represent your side of the story.

  • Make sure you attend all court hearings. Even if you feel your case is hopeless and there is no sense in going to Court — do not give up and make sure your attend every hearing.

  • Arrive to Court on-time. It’s best to get to Court early because sometimes the lines are long for entering through the Court’s scanners.

  • Make sure you understand the legal aspects of your case. You can find many resources online to better understand your position.

  • You need to understand that your Court hearing is not like a doctor’s appointment where you can just call up the Court and change the date. If you need to change the date you must follow the Court rules to obtain a continuance. It’s best if you can make a request to change the hearing prior to the actual Court date. Court Clerks or the Self-Help Center staff can assist you with the proper forms to fill out to request a continuance. It’s always best to ask the other party if he or she will agree to a continuance — it makes the process easier for getting the Court’s approval.

  • Make sure you dress appropriately for Court. Many people ask whether he or she has to put on a suit or dress — which isn’t required. But remember when your mother or father taught you to always put your best foot forward — well not is the time.  

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