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Ask the Divorced Guy!
by Dean Hughson
Title: I Don't Have the Money for an Attorney
I don't have the money for an attorney and my ex is driving me crazy with
filings on a wide range of things, after
our divorce. I have heard that the judges will let you defend yourself. How
does this work? Do you have to be smart to do it yourself?
Well, I have met quite a few people who are preparing themselves and going to
court to defend themselves. They are called pro se or pro per. Basically
may hire an attorney to advice them or help them prepare but they go into the
courtroom alone. Some do this also by going to paralegals and getting forms
prepared and service of documents done.
A web site which tells you more about this is at
Would I do this? I am not sure. I guess it depends on the risk involved in
the case. If we are talking about responding to something that could affect
the custody of my kids only if I had a lot of experience and knowledge would I
do it. I might consider it for other things though. The best, if you can
afford it, is always to have an attorney--someone who knows the ropes of your
DEFENDING YOURSELF IN COURT (Pro se)
More and more people are defending themselves. This is a result of either
special programs in some courts, like Maricopa County Arizona
http://www.maricopa.gov/clkcourt/services.html where they have a new
program to help people do this, or because of either lack of money or trust
in attorneys in general.
To do this you need to understand the system so you don't get thrown out of
court for not filling out the forms correctly and also to be sure you are
asking for something that can be done. Some people do a combination of
hiring an attorney to help them on certain parts of their case and
paralegals to do the forms,etc. A good place to start is to read everything
you can get your hands on about defending yourself. A list of books that
are available (you can even order them online) is at
http://www.beyourownlawyerbooks.com/index.html Below find articles
or web sites on pro se or with good links to law research that may be of
help to you.
Dean Hughson, called the Dear Abby of Divorced Dads by the KC Star, is the founder of the DIVORCE HOMEPAGE. He has talked to thousands of people contemplating divorce, going through divorce, or the chaos afterwards and gives referrals and advice. He resides in Nevada, the state with the highest divorce rate in the US.
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