Generally, to solve family disputes after a divorce, people go to family court regarding property division, child custody, and child support. Sometimes people solve this mutually, and it is okay for them. But when the relationship ends messily, then surely, you need to run to a courtroom quite a lot.
In this case, people appoint a lawyer to handle the case of their behalf. But you can also do it. For that, you need to take proper preparation and knowledge for representing yourself in the family court.
General tips and risks while representing yourself in the family court
If you represent yourself in the court, you can handle all your matter with personal care rather than depending on someone else. But there are risks too as you do not have subsequent experience, knowledge, and degree to work as a personal family lawyer.
However, there are also some courtroom etiquettes in the court to represent you. Those are as follows:
- Learn primary laws for applying
Even though you are not a practising lawyer, you are expected to be knowledgeable about what you are doing. Otherwise, the first impression towards you may get negative points. For studying the primary laws, you can browse from the internet and read the laws at a glance just in case of an emergency.
- Investigate the circumstance
Do not just be present without a proper and prepared argumentative case. Investigate everything- risks, weak points of the opponent, and yours and use it for the betterment of your argument.
- Take good care of your written submissions
The written legal documents should be clear, neat, and full-proof. Recheck every detail such as dates, addresses, names, biodata, money receipts, and evidence. Note down everything so that the opponent lawyer cannot find any problems and corner you some small reason.
- Attend all the hearings and be in time
As you have no lawyer for representing yourself, you must be present at every hearing. Another thing is if possible, be early but do not be late. A court is a busy place, and nobody will wait for you to reschedule the hearing for another day.
- Careful about with evidence and witness
Do not lie in the court and bring false evidence and witness. When you are 100% positive about the evidence, use it in your argument. Sometimes the witness may talk against you for some other reasons but be prepare to re-interrogate them for bringing out the truth.
- Dress properly
Always wear formal attire such as pantsuit, blazer, etc. to a court. Use minimal accessories, sober coloured dress, and avoid flashily and branded things like dress code. Do not ruin the first impression in the court and jury board with a wrong decision with your attire and expression.
- Practice your presentation
Do not expect to just talk like a lawyer in front of the court without any preparation. During public speaking, stage fright is quite normal. So, to mitigate the problem, you should practice your arguments beforehand.
If it is possible, try giving the presentation in front of a mirror. For public speaking, it helps. And also, do not overdo the presentation or preparation and control the confidence level.
- Follow the courtroom etiquette properly
Always call the judge, ‘your honour’ or ‘sir’ in the court. Do not talk or interrogate the opponent aggressively. Do not chew gums, listen to songs on headphones, sleep, pretend to read other things, make unnecessary noise in the court.
And always, keep your cellphone in silent or better if you switch it off. They will expect you on your best and formal behaviour.
- Control your emotions
Whatever happens, remember this is a court. The decision could be against you. It could be emotional for you, such as you do not get the child’s custody or alimony you expected.
Keep your emotion intact as much as you can. Do not just break down in front of the whole audience, respect the decision even if you are not happy with it.
Risks in representing yourself
- As you are not a lawyer, you may break any of the law unintentionally. It may create a negative impact on the judge.
- For lack of experience, you may ruin the case. That is why we acquire knowledge and be prepared.
- If you blunder the case, the judge may ask you to pay for the debts of the opponent for running the case such as lawyer’s payment and other expenses.
- Do not bring your child to the court unless It is indispensable. The verdict could be unexpected to you. So do not break down lest the judges should feel insulted.
Read this also: Differences Between Plaintiff And Defendant
Before representing yourself in the family court, please be sure what you are about to get yourself into. Everything about you and your child’s future depends on you.
Talk to your legal advisor and listen to their advice. If the thing is complicated, give the case to the professional. Otherwise, work on your case like a professional so that no limitation can be noticed.