The courtroom can be a pretty intimidating place. Often, parents representing themselves don’t know where to stand, what to say, or may not even understand what’s actually going on.
Given the complexity of the law and court procedure, certainly non-lawyers representing themselves are held to a lesser standard, right?
Well, actually, no. Self-represented parents are expected to know how to handle their case, just like a lawyer would.
The courts have created sets of forms and instructions parents facing a divorce or custody case can use for free. These forms can be found at county superior court websites and are often found in the “Self Service Center.”
While the forms are helpful and a useful resource, in my experience, parents often struggle to understand the forms and frequently fill the forms out incorrectly.
Recently a mother, seeking custody of her young daughter, came to see me. She had started her case representing herself and didn’t feel like she was getting anywhere. When I looked back at the papers she had filed with the court on her own, I found that, although she had used the court’s standard forms, she had used an incorrect form and had not made the requests to the court she truly wanted to make.
Then, a father came to see me, a father who was fighting to simply spend time with his son. Getting favorable custody orders that guaranteed him regular parenting time was key, yet in review of the papers he’d filed on his own with the court, I found that he hadn’t actually made the requests he wanted to make and, instead, had put forth somewhat confusing requests and positions.
For both of these parents, the outcome of their cases had a huge impact on their lives – these decisions determined how much time they each would get to spend with their kids. Although the court forms were better than nothing, neither of these parents understood how to use the forms or how to make the proper requests to achieve successful outcomes with their cases.
Are you considering using the court forms for a divorce or custody case? Have you already started your case using the forms, but feel confused and lack confidence with your case?
You don’t have to be completely alone in this challenging and unfamiliar court process. You can obtain free legal information designed to help you with your divorce or custody case.
Interested? If so, you’re invited to join me, Arizona Lawyer Julie LaBenz, for a free on-line training where I’ll share my “6 Step System to an Arizona DIY Divorce & Child Custody Case Solution.”
I’ve designed this system in an effort to simplify the divorce and child custody court process for parents that can’t afford or don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an attorney.
Instead of saying, “But Judge, I didn’t know …,” click here to discover the 6 Step System to a Divorce & Child Custody Case Solution and empower yourself with legal information you can actually use.