You might be wondering whether you can save money and represent yourself in courtroom litigation. I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself in most things, but let’s think about it. Beginning the litigation process without an attorney. Stepping into a courtroom without someone by your side. That experience might be like being shoved into an operating room, expected to perform emergency brain surgery. Or being put behind the wheel of a race car, expected to win on your first try. The learning curve is steep and mistakes are costly.
You would be fighting for the future of your family, for your own financial survival, under extreme conditions, where you don’t speak the language, you don’t know the culture, and you don’t know the deadlines or the procedures. Even though you will be surrounded by friendly and helpful people who are very concerned about you and your situation, they are limited in the help that they can give you. The odds that you would achieve a good result in that situation are not good.
Attorneys are trained and experienced to maximize your results in a court of law. It’s their operating room and you need them to survive litigation. They know what, where and when you should file and, more importantly, how to speak to the judge.
I’ve seen people try it. Some have been lucky to escape with a result that was not ideal. Many were turned away because they did not follow procedures that they didn’t even know existed. Others looked like they were in shock because they had just lost custody of their children, or the court had ordered them to jail. The stakes are very high in the courtroom. And it can be impossible to undo the damage once it has been done.
Attorneys are trained and experienced to maximize your results in a court of law. It’s their operating room and you need them to survive litigation. They know what, where and when you should file and, more importantly, how to speak to the judge. That’s why they charge clients $200-$700/hour.
You have options. You can retain a lawyer for full representation, or just to consult with you along the way, or try private mediation to resolve all of the issues and then hire an attorney to review your agreement, help you navigate the legal system, and complete your divorce. It’s entirely up to you.
Authored by Cynthia L. Patton, Esq. This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult your own attorney for specific legal advice.