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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2011, 03:05 PM
Berner_Faith Berner_Faith is offline
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Default Who can represent?

Do you really need a lawyer to draft all your documents? With this forum, and the amount of information available online, plus the amount of books available, do you really need a lawyer to represent you? How does self-representation work? Has anyone had experience with this?
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:14 PM
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Epona Epona is offline
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If you can afford a lawyer, I'd pay for their services. They've spent many years studying the law and know how the system works.
I have represented myself on two occasions and won my case each time. Once my ex started a motion and once it was I. Can't afford a lawyer and don't qualify for legal aid.
Representing yourself means you spend a ton of time researching, waiting to get advice from Duty Counsel (at Family Law Information Clinic or FLIC for short), fill out and serve documents, file them at court, the WAITING... It takes a lot of time and you don't always get the documents filled out properly the first time.
But yes, you can do it yourself without a lawyer. I'd rather pay a lawyer if I could.
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:49 PM
anotherSTEPmother anotherSTEPmother is offline
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I think the best bet is to use a lawyer but perhaps to represent you in court only. You can do the research and pay for advice. I find where peoples legal costs increase is in communicating with the other parties lawyer on a regular basis.

The true benefit we have found with a lawyer is their court room services. Do you know when you can interrupt in a court room, or perhaps the rules... if you are self representing against another lawyer you also lose out because the court will generally count on the other parties lawyer to explain most of the infomation.

They will hurt you with that. I would use a lawyer too but have very specific expectations to keep costs down.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:37 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Unless you are very familiar with lawyer and VERY comfortable speaking in front of people (like judges) I would normally default and use a lawyer.

However, you manage your lawyer. You can do grunt work and filings and advise the lawyer not to deal with the ex's nonsense. You can keep costs down by using your lawyer like a tool for court, not as a means of support.
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:01 PM
Ontario_Dad_41162 Ontario_Dad_41162 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berner_Faith View Post
Do you really need a lawyer to draft all your documents? With this forum, and the amount of information available online, plus the amount of books available, do you really need a lawyer to represent you? How does self-representation work? Has anyone had experience with this?
IMO - self-representing isn't for the faint of heart - and there is clearly an element of risk to it, but on the other hand, it is significantly cheaper. I have been self-represented up until now in the process which is 3 months from trial. I may even represent myself during the trial, but I haven't yet decided.

What I can say, from my own personal experience, is that I have saved at LEAST $10k so far with hearings and filings. It's not something that is impossible to do on your own, but you'd better be prepared to do a lot of reading

For what it's worth, I decided to self-represent as long as I can, and if I think I need a lawyer at trial, I can hire one. My best decision was not using a lawyer for all of the routine hearings, documents and filings - at probably $300/hour, my retainer would have been gone in a flash.

Message me privately if you have questions about my experiences (good and bad lol)

Rick
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:36 PM
Kevin_Hill88 Kevin_Hill88 is offline
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My girlfriend is very intelligent and understands family court, contract writing, and can speak very well in public. She is extremely intelligent and is able to make incredible speeches. She has prepared my entire case and I have been told it is pretty solid but have not hired a lawyer for my case because I cannot afford it. I was wondering if she can represent me? The reason I see objections is because she is not a lawyer and because she is close to me, being my girlfriend. Any advice on that?
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Old 09-23-2011, 05:53 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Hill88 View Post
My girlfriend is very intelligent and understands family court, contract writing, and can speak very well in public. She is extremely intelligent and is able to make incredible speeches. She has prepared my entire case and I have been told it is pretty solid but have not hired a lawyer for my case because I cannot afford it. I was wondering if she can represent me? The reason I see objections is because she is not a lawyer and because she is close to me, being my girlfriend. Any advice on that?
She is not a lawyer and therefore cannot represent you, or anybody, in family court. Paralegal's are also prohibited from representing people in family court.

You can either a) self represent or b) hire a lawyer.
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:20 PM
Kevin_Hill88 Kevin_Hill88 is offline
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That's what I thought. Yeah, I'm going to try for a lawyer and self represent if not.
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:03 AM
danzuchy danzuchy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Hill88 View Post
My girlfriend is very intelligent and understands family court, contract writing, and can speak very well in public. She is extremely intelligent and is able to make incredible speeches. She has prepared my entire case and I have been told it is pretty solid but have not hired a lawyer for my case because I cannot afford it. I was wondering if she can represent me? The reason I see objections is because she is not a lawyer and because she is close to me, being my girlfriend. Any advice on that?

You watch too many movies. You can make all the incredible speeches in the world , if it's "out of bounds" the Judge will tear you to shreds.

Number one issues with self reps: Can't separate emotions from facts. Trust me on this, Judges are VERY busy and don't like hearing who the ex is an ass. They want the case, the law and what you want. End of story.

You need to know the law and a half decent lawyer will absolutely murder a self rep.
  #10  
Old 09-24-2011, 08:20 AM
Ontario_Dad_41162 Ontario_Dad_41162 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danzuchy View Post
You watch too many movies. You can make all the incredible speeches in the world , if it's "out of bounds" the Judge will tear you to shreds.

Number one issues with self reps: Can't separate emotions from facts. Trust me on this, Judges are VERY busy and don't like hearing who the ex is an ass. They want the case, the law and what you want. End of story.

You need to know the law and a half decent lawyer will absolutely murder a self rep.
That'a a real generalization to suggest that a self rep can't keep the emotions out and it isn't true. Granted, that is the case with some, but others are able to do that.

Being self-represented against a lawyer clearly is a disadvantage, however, many lawyers hate going against a self-represented individual as typically the judge keeps this into consideration and actually can give a self-rep a lot more leeway.

Sure, it's not an ideal situation, but sometimes it's the best way to proceed although not the easiest.
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