Self Representation and its Four Major Problems

"Pro Se" means you want to represent yourself in your divorce case and skip hiring and paying a family law attorney.  It is never a good idea and almost always is a very bad idea when contemplating self representation. Understandably, you are probably thinking you can get forms from the internet and fill in the blanks yourself.  That makes perfect sense.  Here's the problem: the Texas Legislature does a lot of things which make no sense at all.  No doubt you already know that.  You just haven't considered how that can impact the Texas Family Code and your divorce.  So that is Problem No. One. Problem No. Two is you have no way of knowing who drew up the forms you are proposing to use in connection with the disposition of everything that matters to you in life.  Your kids; your house; your money; your retirement plan; your car; your couch and TV; your debts and your credit rating; your grandmother's sterling silver; your father's best rod and reel.   You can see that is not a wise move for you to make.  Plus, going back to Problem No. One, the legislature meets every other year.  Something is always changing.  How are you going to know if your forms were ever correct in the first place, much less whether they remain current and correct? Problem No. Three is that you will likely get weak in the knees at some point in the process and decide to have a lawyer look over your paperwork.  Somebody you already know.  Maybe a criminal lawyer.  Maybe a personal injury lawyer.  Maybe a real estate lawyer.  That would be like calling a plumber to fix your electrical circuit breaker; a carpenter to fix your air conditioner.  How is that likely to have a good ending?  Probably better than if you tried to fix the circuit breaker or air conditioner yourself, but it's more likely your acquaintance will be unwilling to give you casual legal advice outside his area of expertise. Problem No. Four is that you have no way of knowing what your spouse is doing.  Maybe your spouse is telling you he/she doesn't have a family law attorney, but - hey! - what if that's not true?  Don't forget you are divorcing this person for some reason.  Maybe not telling the truth is one of those reasons. There are so many ways you can hurt yourself trying to avoid the expense of hiring a lawyer.  Some of them might be fixable, but many of them will be irrevocable.  So, think that over and read our blogs before making this important decision with self representation.  If you have no kids, no money, no property, no retirement plan interest and no rod and reel, the decision becomes slightly less important.  Still, we have seen homemade divorce decrees that actually fail to grant the divorce, so be careful.  You might end up an unintentional bigamist!

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