I’m representing myself, but I have some questions, how can a lawyer help me?
In today’s economy I find that quite often people are representing themselves in their own divorce, modification, contempt and paternity matters. The family law system is set up to allow for pro se litigants. Palm Beach County has a self-help center allowing pro se parties to buy legal forms in every family law matter. The problem starts when it comes time to fill out those forms. Understanding what each form is for, which forms you need to file, and how to fill them out is the challenge. The Clerk of Courts and the court staff cannot give legal advice, which means they cannot tell you what to write or whether you are filing the correct forms. Even after filing the appropriate forms, pro se litigants then need to prepare for mediation, court hearings, and possibly trial.
If you need help, you best option is to consult with a South Florida Family Lawyer. Often lawyers will offer pro se litigants assistance for an hourly fee. Lawyers can help pro se litigants in the following ways:
- Preparing the pro se forms that are available through self-help and/or preparing more customized documents that are not within the self-help forms.
- Preparing for mediation.
- Preparing settlement proposals and responding to settlement proposals.
- Preparing for trial, explaining the rules of evidence, and researching case law to back up your position.
- Represent you at a particular hearing or mediation only.
If you choose to use an attorney on an hourly basis to help you with your case, it is important to understand that attorney will not file any documents with the court stating that he/she represents you. If the attorney does go to court, they will be entering a Limited Notice of Appearance for only the matter they are handling.
While you will not become an attorney overnight, hiring a South Florida Family Law attorney to help with pieces of your case can help you save money and get a better result.