I cannot give legal advice, I’m not an attorney. But I do intend to offer chosen bits of my experiences as I slowly wended my way through the vast jungly halls of the judicial system, first at the mercy of my lawyers, second at the mercy of myself, and always at the mercy of their lawyers under the watchful eye of the bench (huh!).
Frankly, if I win, great; if I lose, I’d rather lose through my own efforts, because then I can at least understand what went wrong. I’d rather blame myself than an attorney.
As a stock market player, if I lost I shrugged, in the courts if I lose and suspect that I was not on a level playing field, I will fight through to a fair resolution. I will not go away.
One is led to believe that court procedures can be pinned down as a kind of algorithm, follow it, and you’ll be fine. Not so, I’ve found that to be a myth. You have to create your own learning tree, and strategize.
I’ve found there are a different set of rules if you’re acting pro se. If you’re before a judge only, you are at a disadvantage. He was a lawyer, and operates on a lawyer level, and you don’t want him as your only audience. If you can get before a judge and JURY, well then, the jury will be at your level of understanding, and the judge and the lawyers will have to stoop. Unfortunately, Family Law does not provide for juries. Read from my sidebar under “The Plight of the Pro Se”.
I hope you can learn from my fight, which isn’t finished. You might want to battle without a lawyer as I eventually did (good luck), or you might be able to employ a lawyer through to conclusion.
Audition more than one, and don’t let them intimidate you (I think they take classes in intimidation)! And if you do, you will be able to ride them a little better if you follow along on their page. I suggest you don’t employ lawyers who say to you “don’t ever interfere with what I do”. And you won’t get recommendations from me.
As for the old saw, “a person who represents himself has a fool for a client”, that only applies if you are a fool. A well informed pro se, exercising his/her constitutional rights, can be dangerous to the system. The problem is to first get its respect, and then its attention. Take courage, things are changing!
Look to the left for legal headings.