What Are the Pros and Cons of Representing Yourself in Family Court?
Family court cases in Los Angeles can involve a variety of issues. Our Los Angeles family law attorneys handle cases involving, but not limited to:
- Child custody
- Property division
- Legal separation
- Child support
- Domestic violence
- Domestic partnerships
- Pre/Postnuptial agreements
- Summary dissolution
- And much more
Divorces and family law matters can result in personal and legal consequences. The cases can also involve complicated issues related to the California Family Code. While it might be possible for some individuals to represent themselves in family court, the results they obtain might not be what they desire and could have long-term implications for many areas of their lives.
What Can Happen if I Represent Myself in a California Family Court Case?
Whether your case is before a Los Angeles County family court or another family court in California, you are expected to understand the court rules and laws regarding your case. Proceeding pro se (representing yourself) could compromise your case. It could also increase the odds of not receiving your desired outcome or losing the case altogether.
Before you decide upon self-representation in family court, it can help to consider the pros and cons of doing so.
Pros of representing yourself in family court could include saving money on legal fees because you do not hire an attorney. You also have direct control over your case and the decisions you make.
There are many more cons to representing yourself in family court, and they often outweigh any benefits you see in representing yourself. Cons of representing yourself in family court include, but are not limited to:
- A lack of legal knowledge could result in mistakes that hurt your case.
- The emotional stress and bias you feel could cause you to make irrational or poor decisions about your case.
- The paperwork and procedures involved in a family court case can be complex and challenging to understand.
- Handling a family court case without a lawyer can be time-consuming.
- The court staff and judges cannot give you legal advice.
- You risk not providing sufficient evidence to prove each legal element required to win your case.
- The odds of losing your case increase when you represent yourself.
- You might miss a deadline that could result in losing the right to file a case or having your case dismissed.
- If you lose the case, you might be ordered to pay the other party’s legal fees and costs.
- You may face an experienced Los Angeles family court attorney who understands that law and procedures.
Choosing to represent yourself in family court might end up costing you more money than you thought you would save by not hiring an attorney. It could cost you custody of your child or the visitation terms you desire.
If you are unsure whether to hire a Los Angeles family law attorney, schedule a consultation to speak with a lawyer. It is better to get the facts from an experienced lawyer so you can make an informed decision on what is best for your situation.
The Role of Lawyers in a Family Law Case in California
An attorney plays a crucial role in a family law case. Because there is a lot at stake when you enter a family court for a case, consider how an attorney can help you with a family court case.
Protect You From Stress
Attorneys are buffers between you and the other party. Divorces and family court cases can cause an incredible amount of emotional distress.
Hiring an attorney means you do not need to deal directly with an ex-partner or other party. Your attorney protects you from being bullied by the other side and their attorney.
Provide Sound Legal Advice
Your lawyer also serves as a source of legal advice. They understand the laws applicable to your case and how those laws can impact the outcome. An attorney also knows what evidence is needed to prove the legal elements to win your case and has the resources to gather that evidence.
Hiring a family law attorney is practical. Their goal is to protect your best interests and get the best possible outcome for your case. When personal feelings cloud your thinking, your attorney objectively offers legal advice and guidance that helps you make rational decisions that align with your best interest and long-term goals.
Understand How To Present a Strong Case in Court
Suppose your case goes to trial in family court. In that circumstance, an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney understands how to present your case to the judge. They know how to use the evidence to present the facts in the best light possible. Attorneys also understand how to defend you against allegations and evidence that could hurt your chances of winning your case.
Negotiate Fair Settlements To Avoid Family Court Litigation
Attorneys are skilled in the courtroom but also understand how to negotiate fair divorce settlements and agreements. Mediation and arbitration can avoid going to court. The negotiations between the parties remain private.
In many cases, family court mediation can save you money on legal fees and court costs. It can allow you to save money on court costs and legal fees while giving you the benefits of having sound legal advice and representation for a family court matter.
Protect the Best Interests of Your Children
Your family law attorneys protect your parental rights. However, they also protect your children’s best interests.
They assist you in obtaining a parenting plan and visitation schedule that benefits your children. An attorney can help you prove that your child’s other parent is unfit, if that is the case. Also, lawyers help parents receive/pay fair amounts of child support.
Obtain Your Fair Share of Marital Assets
Even though California is a community property state and marital assets are divided equally, issues regarding property division can cause problems during a divorce. Spouses may challenge the classification of assets as marital property or separate property. A spouse might try to hide assets to avoid splitting them with a spouse.
Experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyers thoroughly understand California’s community property laws. They know how to find hidden assets and protect your right to a fair distribution of marital property and debts.
Contact Our Office for a Case Evaluation With a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer
At Berenji & Associates, we care about what you are going through and want to help. Contact our law firm to schedule a consultation at (310) 271-6290 with one of our experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys. We are happy to answer questions and offer advice regarding your family law matter.