Assistance with a Pro Se Dissolution of Marriage
It is not unusual to hear someone that has been trying to handle their own Dissolution of Marriage say things like ‘the Judge hates me’ or ‘They won’t let me schedule a Hearing.’ The person is often frustrated and scared.
Dissolutions of Marriage have a direct impact upon the most important aspects of our lives: our children, our homes, and our security. While it is almost always better to hire an attorney to represent you in a Dissolution of Marriage action, the economic reality is that many people cannot afford to hire one.
As people will attempt to repair their own cars, they will attempt to handle their own Dissolutions of Marriage. Good Lawyers, like good mechanics, have done the job before and know what they are doing, and sometimes a little bit of knowledge can save a great deal of time and money, bring perspective, and reduce stress.
In the example listed above, a litigant left a Hearing upset the Judge would not hear anything about the other party not paying child support in months. A quick review of the litigant’s case by an experienced attorney showed that the Judge did not hate the litigant, but the Hearing that the litigant left was set on a completely different issue. If there is an Objection, a Judge will not let litigants raise issues that are not set for Hearing that day. It is basic due process. After a Motion for Contempt was filed and a Hearing on that Motion was set, the Judge was very interested in the lack of child support payments and quickly took action.
When self-represented parties have trouble setting Hearings, it can be for a variety of reasons. Often, that there are certain requirements that must be met before the Hearing on an issue can be set. For example, there must be Service of Process, the Motion must be filed with the Court, there must be Mediation before a Hearing on Temporary Relief will be set, or there are different filing requirements in local counties to set a case for Trial.
During a consultation with an attorney, he or she can look at what has been filed in your case, give you advice about the documents you filed, and tell you if those documents are sufficient to obtain the relief you are seeking. An attorney can also give you an idea of where your case is and the next steps to take to bring it to a conclusion, or the steps you need to take to prepare for and present your case at Hearing or Trial.
The goals of these consultations are to demystify the legal process and to help a litigant understand what is happening and what they need to do. We find that the more people understand what a Judge is doing and why, the more comfortable people are with the legal system as a whole.
In essence, a consultation answers your questions and gives you additional information you may not know you needed. Our attorneys will give you advice based on what we would do if we were to represent you, or steps you can take on your own if you do not desire or cannot afford representation. For these consultations, make sure that you bring as much financial documentation as possible. The more information you have, the better the attorney can use their experience to guide you in your next steps. We can give you insight into the rules the Court will utilize and what we have encountered in our years of practice to enable you to move forward with greater confidence.