• Autumn Gillette

Representing Yourself In Family Court

When it is time to head to family court, many choose to represent themselves. Although making this choice has potential to be risky, many of our clients are quite successful at it.


Understandably representing yourself and using a non-attorney service for document preparation can save a lot of money in attorney fees. And for those who cannot afford an attorney, representing themselves may be the only option.

If you are representing yourself in family court, there are things you can do to give yourself a better chance at winning or getting the best outcome in your case.


You can hire an experienced legal document assistant with a good reputation to prepare all the necessary documentation. An experienced legal document assistant like AGillette LDA will have years of invaluable experience in presenting facts and explaining circumstances.


You may also want to research the applicable laws and rules that deal with your legal issue. Keep in mind, legal research may require a great deal of time and effort. In reality, however, legal analysis is often not needed in common family law proceedings.


Also, most courts in California have family law facilitators that help with certain family law matters. Some family law facilitators even offer basic workshops on things such as how to file for divorce. Some courts have step-by-step videos to guide you on the steps required to complete certain required filings. Unfortunately, many people fund these self-help programs greatly lacking and insufficient and not much help at all.


You can also talk with a family law attorney who can give you general advice on the basics of the relevant law, and any strategies you might want to consider. Meeting with an attorney for a consultation is a lower cost option than hiring an attorney for full representation. You can then hire a legal document assistant to help prepare and file your legal paperwork.


How to Represent Yourself in Family Court

If you are representing yourself before the court, sometimes it is helpful to visit court and watch similar hearings. This will help you get a “feel” for what to expect at your own hearing. Watching other cases will make you more confident when you appear before the judge. You will also see first-hand court professionalism and dress code. It is helpful to see how the parties act towards the judge and each other.


Make sure to file all the required documents on time before your hearing. AGillette LDA not only prepares documents, but we also help submit all documents to the court so clients need not worry about this task.


Representing Yourself in Family Court vs Hiring an Attorney

While representing yourself may be a good option in some instances, in some situations it may be better to hire an attorney rather than go it alone. Remember, you can always use a legal document assistant for your document preparation and only hire an attorney to make the necessary court appearances. This combination gives you more value for your dollar and allows you to reduce the cost of legal services.


If your case is one of those rare, complex matters, you definitely should consider hiring an attorney. A complicated case means more complex issues, more filings, and concerns that require investigation and discovery. If there is a lot at stake in your case, the legal expertise and mind of an attorney may be valuable. Before deciding to represent yourself in a family law matter, you should carefully consider if it is your best option.


Successfully representing yourself in family law court is definitely possible. Contact AGillette LDA at 707.308.1639 to discuss how we can help you.

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