I have begun seeing an alarming number of pro se divorces in family court. With the economy in a down spin, it does not surprise me. Still, I can’t help but think of the old saying; “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Judging from my experience with clients, the majority have little real exposure to our judicial system. It is usually limited to the People’s Court, Boston Legal and other smatterings of fictional legal dramas. They supplement their knowledge with internet chat rooms, web links to information from States other than Ohio, and the bad advice from John, their auto mechanic, who once had a divorce 8 years ago in Texas or Kentucky. Add to this that because clients are inextricably emotionally involved in the circumstances of their family, when combined with all the complexities and nuances that every single legal matter involves, the answer becomes obvious.
For these clients, taking the risk to go to court alone can have harrowing consequences to their wallet and their legal rights under Ohio law. When one agrees to a divorce without any legal knowledge of the procedures/processes involved and how they may affect him/her individually, both now and in the future, he/she may be compared to playing roulette at the local casino. This is the best case scenario. The worst scenario is where he/she basically gets a pat on the back, a few items of furniture and an old Ford, while the spouse keeps the Benz. In an effort to avoid paying for an attorney, one may give up the right to thousands of dollars in deserved alimony as well as one’s interest in the house and the Benz. In Ohio, because he/she has not asked for alimony at the time of the divorce, the matter is considered closed. In legal terms, tough cookies.
Another problem I see with pro se litigants is that they appear to be clogging up the court’s docket. As they attempt to learn legal procedure, they prolong normally quick matters and cause added expense for everyone. An ornery pro se plaintiff/defendant often tries to make needless frivolous motions, make crazy demands, and constantly ask for continuances.
Save yourself the emotional trauma, delay, injurious legal mistakes, and added expense. Get armed with the knowledge to protect your legal interests in advance. Protect yourself, seek a legal consultation and representation by an attorney of your choice. This website offers a wealth of information to get you started in the right direction.
Visit my Page, CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAWYER.