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rockscan 10-16-2018 12:51 PM

Self Rep Litigants
Thought I would post this for discussion. Would be interesting to hear opinions...

Partners lawyer said “the courts like to go easy on self repped litigants and the judge tends to do the work for them”. I was shocked at this statement.

Is this true? Has this been what others have seen? Are courts moving away from this/moving toward it? I thought there was a greater emphasis on self repped to do their work but maybe Im wrong.

Self repped litigants get coddled...discuss:

ifonlyihadknown 10-17-2018 08:51 AM

I've heard both sides. A well prepared, respectful self-rep will probably get some help from a reasonable judge to keep things moving along. An unprepared, emotional, quarrelsome self-rep will probably try the judge's patience and not have a good experience.
Of course, any family law lawyer has a vested interest in not having any self-rep'd litigants so take anything they say with a reasonable bit of skepticism.

Janus 10-17-2018 10:26 AM

From Canlii, and this is an anecdotal observation only, fathers who self-rep tend to get destroyed. Some possible reasons:

1) Sample is not representative
2) I have a confirmation bias issue
3) Fathers tend to lose, self-rep or not
4) The fathers that tend to self-rep are often delusional


5) Self-rep is not especially coddled, at least not to the point where it helps them win.

rockscan 10-17-2018 10:53 AM

My partners ex is self repping and her documents are ridiculous. As are her arguments. She keeps repeating useless information with no documentation or proof. In their only “conference” she went on ad nauseam about irrelevant stuff. Her current motion is for information that has no bearing on the case, she just wants to know my income and financial information. As the lawyer said, with another lawyer it would be tossed but because shes a self rep the lawyer has to tip toe around the issues because self reps get coddled.

My partner is worried that because shes this “poor single mother trying to do whats best for our children” a judge will take pity on her. Ignoring the fact that he has been following the law to a T, has been alienated from his kids and never sees any information until he says no receipt no pay.

The last thing we have is a pot of cash to pay a lawyer but we are because he can’t self rep. She has proven her self rep skills are non existent but she is doing it so she can claim the high road of not wasting money like he is. Now we have to face the fact a judge will side with her because she refuses to do this properly??

(And she has more money than we do for a lawyer. MUCH more. And she has a lawyer signing her forms. Shes just sanctimonious.)

momof2teenboys 10-17-2018 12:36 PM

Stbx has been self-rep off and on over the past few years (four different lawyers so far and none seem to stick around).

The last time we were before a judge was for a long-motion. We had completed equalization about 18 months into separation and this was one final item that he had been refusing to complete despite it being agreed on consent. He managed to delay by adjournment (on consent since he would have likely been given it anyways) SEVEN times using 2 of those lawyers, and when we finally managed to make it to court he no longer had a lawyer.

He wanted to delay again - sending 3 4-inch binders on a Wednesday night at 5:00 as my lawyers office was closing, for a motion scheduled for Friday at 10. Binders were full of nonsense and repeated information over and over again. We scrambled and filed our response back and then were set for the motion - I did not want any excuse to delay again as it was now over 2 years from the originally scheduled motion.

He showed up with his girlfriend at the table with him. This didn't impress the judge and she even asked if we wanted her removed. We went along with the circus and they didn't let us down. It was a 1 hour motion on a Friday morning of a long weekend - he started by asking for another adjournment and $25,000 security to cover his potential legal costs and when the judge said no he then talked for 4.5 hours. We even had to break for lunch. It was a mess. The girlfriend was glaring at the judge (she was called out and nearly removed), and then kept "whispering" to him what to say and he would just repeat her verbatim...for 4.5 hours. The judge stopped her two more times and she just kept apologizing.

I was a bit shocked at all this. He was once a pretty confident public speaker and quite used to giving presentations to people he didn't know - so I actually thought that he was capable of getting through a motion on his own - he wasn't. It was a hot mess.

And yes, he lost big time. I got everything he had originally agreed to and then some. And my full costs.

arabian 10-18-2018 08:05 PM

Rockscan I predict that your man's ex is heading for total annihilation.

Trust that the judge that hears the case (not much else you can do at this point). You know the law and have provided more than enough disclosure.

Be prepared for your man to feel great pity for his ex when he wins his case. That will likely present more of a problem than you have had to deal with so far.

Hope you have a great winter vacation planned!

rockscan 10-18-2018 09:44 PM

I think at this point he will have zero pity. Hes now angry at the money she is causing him to waste.

Yep, awesome vacation planned this year including a trip to a spot he has been dreaming about since he was a teenager!!!

We just have to get through this first then we can go back to dreaming of paradise.

StillPaying 10-20-2018 08:57 PM

I've never had an option other than to self rep.

Between the court clerks, flic office, duty counsel, conferences, etc, there is plenty of help for self reps along the way. This is where we might get "coddled", but we still have to study and do the work. Motions and trials are all business and you're expected to know what you're doing. The judge won't help or do any work for you there.

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