Tips for Representing Yourself in Family Court

Going to family court is an overwhelming time. If you do not have a lot of money for a retainer and make a decent income it can be impossible to find someone to represent you. Finding yourself in a situation where you need to represent yourself in family court can be scary but with some tips you will find that it is possible for you to do a great job, even if you have no previous legal experience. Facebook and other social media platforms can help you find web based family law solutions, instead of using Google to find a local attorney you might not be able o afford.

Prior to Court

There are some things that you should do prior to going to court. These tips can help with this time.

  • Have one folder or notebook where you keep all of the information together.

  • Keep all papers in one place and have them organized.

  • If you talk to someone about the case, write it down.

Form Preparation

Once you know that you will be going to court there are a lot of legal papers that you will likely need to have written. These tips can help you with writing your own legal papers and forms.

  • Make sure that you have the right forms.

  • Read all instructions first.

  • Do not sign the forms unless you are in front of a notary.

  • Have all information and documentation neatly and clearly attached.

  • Know what the filing fee is and be ready to pay it.

  • Keep copies of all paperwork.

Court Preparation

Preparing for court after forms have been filed is another time when you might feel stuck a bit. Staying calm and remaining focused are key and these tips can help.

  • Talk to a lawyer to be sure you are doing what is best for your case.

  • Make sure that you look well put together and professional.

  • Keep children at home with a babysitter.

  • Know the material that you are going to present.

  • Know the material that the person you will be in court against is going to present.

  • Make sure that witnesses will be present in the court room.

  • Have your notebook and paperwork ready to go.

Attending Court

When the big day comes it is important to remain focused on the facts and to separate them from the emotions that you might be feeling.

  • Make sure that you are on time.

  • Announce who you are quietly to the bailiff when you arrive.

  • Always address the judge as “Your Honor.”

  • Do not curse and make sure to remain calm regardless of the questions that are asked.

  • No one is allowed to give you pointers or talk to you about your case.

  • Remain polite the entire time.

  • Always respond to notices or information that you have been given.

No one can be one hundred percent prepared when they head in to family court. It can be really hard if you do not know how things are going to end up and what information might be brought against you. While some people have cases where it is easy for them to represent themselves, others do not. Some people might even think that they are cut out to represent themselves but find out when it is too late that they should have hired a lawyer. The Family Law Self Help Center has a great list of questions for you to ask yourself before you determine if representing yourself is the right thing to do or not.


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