Affordable Guidance for Self-Representation in Divorce Court
Divorce can be a grueling process, both emotionally and financially. Many people who find themselves in this situation have never had reason to enter a courtroom, let alone do they have a firm understanding of family law. Suddenly, they are faced with the stresses of child custody matters, debt and asset negotiations, mediation and pages of legal jargon. The things they value most appear to be in jeopardy, and they feel they are floundering in unfamiliar territory. Although they may be in desperate need of legal assistance, retaining an attorney may not always a financial possibility.
Salt Lake City’s Wall & Wall Law Firm understands this struggle. Specializing in family and divorce law, we have over forty years of courtroom experience. We strongly believe that anyone going through a divorce can benefit from receiving professional legal counsel – especially in cases involving children.
Unbundled Services – Can I Represent Myself in Divorce Court?
Wall & Wall believes our clients deserve options. No two cases are alike, and not all clients have the same needs. We have found that with a little bit of legal guidance, many people can represent themselves throughout their divorce proceedings – and achieve positive results.
Clients who are considering handling their own divorce cases can contact Wall & Wall for a free, thirty-minute consultation prior to paying for any services or guidance. If they decide we are the right attorneys for them, they can schedule and pay for a single appointment. An attorney will then meet with the client to discuss the client’s case and the areas where the client is seeking guidance. Common issues include:
- Obtaining, preparing and completing necessary paperwork
- Identifying issues most important to the client
- Organizing and effectively articulating client’s arguments based on facts and evidence
- Preparing for mediation
- Analyzing potential areas of disagreement with other party and how to respond
- Explaining applicable laws and the court’s role
- Reviewing and/or proposing settlement agreements
- Educating client as to the flow of a typical case, from filing to final ruling/dissolution
Moving Forward with Self-Representation
If the client has no further need for the attorney following the meeting, their interaction is complete. Should the client decide to seek additional advice or representation, the client would prepay for supplemental services depending on the client’s needs. This approach removes much of the mystery from legal proceedings, thereby increasing clients’ confidence in the courtroom. It also gives clients the independence to proceed with their cases as they determine is best for themselves, while keeping costs to a minimum.
Clients who opt to represent themselves are responsible for gathering and filing their own paperwork, monitoring court deadlines, and speaking on their own behalf in the courtroom. Should the client decide at any time that further legal assistance is warranted, the client can return to us to purchase additional sessions with an attorney, or to retain an attorney for the duration of the case.
Tips for Going to Divorce Court
Certain conduct is expected in the courtroom, regardless of the stress and emotions associated with divorce hearings. Whether accompanied by attorneys or representing themselves, parties involved in court proceedings should keep these tips in mind:
- Be Prepared – Arrive at the courtroom on time, with all documents and notes in hand. Cases may be rescheduled or dismissed if parties are not present, and defaults or unfavorable rulings can be made if an absent party is not in attendance.
- Turn Off Cellular Phones – Silence or disable any device that may disrupt proceedings.
- Check In – Parties should provide the bailiff with their names and docket numbers upon arriving at the courtroom. Do not interrupt proceedings or attempt to signal to or communicate with the judge or any other courtroom personnel unless instructed to do so.
- Be Respectful – Parties shall refer to the judge as “Your Honor.” Do not argue with others in the courtroom. All parties will be given the opportunity to address concerns and respond to arguments. Profanity will not be tolerated.
- Converse Appropriately – Court personnel cannot provide legal advice or recommendations on how to proceed with a case. Do not attempt to speak with the judge unless all parties are present and the judge has allowed such communication.
Get Help Handling Your Divorce or Family Law Matter from a Professional
When you obtain DIY divorce help, you will be getting advice from a licensed Utah divorce attorney who is there for you – not a paralegal, and not a legal assistant. Contact Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law PC for a FREE initial consultation.