Appearing in a court for hearing can be stressful. Though by God’s grace you may not get into such a situation, but what if you come across such a situation in life? Divorce case, child support, visitation, etc. is always very stressful, and especially if you decide to represent yourself and not choose an attorney for you. Here are some instructions, which will help you know ‘how to represent yourself in a family court?’
- Deciding to represent yourself:
It is advisable that you choose an attorney to represent you in the court, especially if your case is not a simple family court case or divorce case. However, many people still opt for representing themselves; this may be because they feel that no one would be able to explain their side to the judge. Also, the high fees of attorney’s force people to take this decision.
- Organize and Prepare:
You are representing yourself in court in front of the judge. You have to take this seriously and prepare for your case. You have to do some research on your situation and case. You can do this research over the internet. There are different sites that will help you. For example, if you are representing yourself in a divorce case, you can simply search ‘divorce case rules’ on Google for a list of related websites. Jot down some questions, find answers to the questions and read prior case history that will serve as a reference to your case.
Proof is the essence of your case. You will never be able to prove your point and take a stand for yourself if you do not have any proof. Testimony, documentary proof, etc. will be sufficient for you to prove your point and take a strong stand for yourself. For example, if you are fighting for child support and want to increase the compensation you receive, you will have to give proofs of expenses on child.
- Filing a Petition:
You will have to consult the clerk at the court and file your petition. You can take their help to fill in the petition form. You can also download the petition form from the internet.
You are going to court so remember, dress up in formals just the way you dress up while going to office. No flashy or exposing outfits. The judge will give you an option of postponing the date if you want to get a lawyer for yourself. In some countries, the judge provides you a lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one. If you still wish to represent yourself, the case will proceed.
- In the court:
When you go to the court, check where you have to sit, stay calm, check all your papers again, and keep a pen and paper with you.
- Talking to the Judge:
While talking to the judge address him or her as ‘Your Honor.’ Speak only when you are asked to speak, check your speech, language and words. Do not use abusive language. Do not try to sound like a lawyer. Your judge knows that you are not a lawyer, so only state your points in a simple and clear conversation.
Respond to the judge’s question. Listen carefully to what he or she says. If you fail to understand something, request for clarification.
- Family Court:
Many a times, in family matters judges advise to settle the matter internally with the help of a mediator. Accept this advise if given, unless the matter is very serious. If you fail to get justice from the mediation process, you can definitely request the judge to have a court hearing.
10. Written Documents:
If you manage to come to a decision by the mediation process, get the decision between you and your opponent in written. The document should be signed by both the parties, and later signed or stamped by the court or judge.
11. Check the court order:
Once you get the order from the court, proof read it once again to check for accuracy. If there are, any mistakes or doubts get it sorted.
In this way, you can represent yourself in a family court. You do not need to be a successful or a professional lawyer. You just need to take your stand and be prepared with all proofs.