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Pro Se Custody
February 16, 2010
7:07 am
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nvr2late
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Has anyone proceeded pro se (without a lawyer) in a custody case? If yes, any good advice with dealing with a lawyer and what things I should remember? I have decided not to get a lawyer, as there is a GAL involved and a Social worker will be doing a placement evaluation. I don't believe my ex's lawyer will be able to do anything for it? As she will not have the final say in anything...any thoughts on this? Or any lawyers out there that can give me tips to remember? Thank you..kind of stressful for me! nvr

February 16, 2010
7:59 am
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It No Longer Matters
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Only that the person who represents themselves has a fool for a lawyer. Even lawyers hire other lawyer's when it comes to personal affairs. Surely there is some type of legal aid near you. Please, please, look into it.

Bitsy

February 16, 2010
10:44 am
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StronginHim77
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I would NEVER walk into any custody case without a lawyer. Too much is at stake. Cheaper to do it right the first time, than to try and undo the damage of an unfavorable ruling.

- Ma Strong

February 16, 2010
12:48 pm
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nvr2late
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I would agree...but there is a social worker and a GAL involved.
So, I don't believe my ex's lawyer can change their minds on anything?
maybe I am a fool, but I have a TON of evidence.
And I really don't think it will make any difference to have a lawyer?

It is all about the kids...I know I know, freaks people out to do it themselves...I might consider it..if it looks like it is going to trial..but, I am thinking that I have nothing to lose..I have 50/50..they will NEVER take that away from me, so it might stay the same...but he will NOT get full custody of the kids, believe me.

don't scare me 🙂 although I love a challenge

February 16, 2010
1:30 pm
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StronginHim77
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I wonder why you bothered seeking our opinions/input, since you have already made your decision?

"Don't scare me?" No one was trying to frighten you...only to give you our best, possible advice/opinion to protect your interests. Child custody is not something any of us take lightly.

- Ma Strong

February 16, 2010
1:30 pm
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StronginHim77
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I wonder why you bothered seeking our opinions/input, since you have already made your decision?

"Don't scare me?" No one was trying to frighten you...only to give you our best, possible advice/opinion to protect your interests. Child custody is not something any of us take lightly.

- Ma Strong

February 17, 2010
7:42 am
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nvr2late
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I am not scared...I guess that I am questioning a little, I was hoping there was someone on here that has done it, I am not sure that there are many people out there..I know it is a difficult situation, I know that lawyers know the laws...but this is what I was thinking...the official report has to be done by the SW and the GAL by May 3...after the custody and placement study has been done....

the hearing is Middle of May sometime, so I guess my thought it is it not going to change the outcome of their findings if I have a lawyer....I am trying to get a feel for custody situations.

not really scared, but just thinking that maybe there is info I dont' know.....

thank you Ma for bringing me back down to the ground, mostly what I am 'afraid' of is not filing something that needs to be filed!

thank you for your thoughts, I really do appreciate them!

nvr

February 17, 2010
10:23 am
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onlyboringontheoutside
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I was wondering what your motivation is to go through this without a lawyer. Is it to save money? Because you can't stand working with lawyers? Because you don't know any good lawyers? Something else?

February 17, 2010
2:49 pm
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fantas
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In addition to asking for others' opinion here, I would suggest consulting a lawyer on the pros and cons of doing it your way. Rule of thumb, if the other party has a lawyer you need to go in with one. They can change 50/50 child custody to less than that and ask you to pay child support over some trumped up accusations of incompetency as a mother and a myriad other reasons. If you all could have settled it amicably you wouldn't have needed a lawyer in the first. There is a lot his lawyer can do and you are leaving yourself wide open.

You have experts on your side, trust me, so will they, if the need arises. All is fair in a court of all. The lawyers only have their client's best interest in mind. Not the kids and definitely not you...

February 17, 2010
10:55 pm
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chelonia mydas
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When my ex and I first talked about divorce, I thought much the same way as you and didn't get a lawyer at first. I was motivated by money and wanting to keep things simple. I don't have kids and I thought that me and my ex were in somewhat agreement on how to divide our stuff so why have a lawyer?

That was the WORST decision I could have made. I made major mistakes that cost me big time. He may not have been out for blood, but his lawyer sure was. They lured me into beleiveing things were different than they were and I fell for it because I didn't know the laws.

In the end I had to hire a lawyer who helped to salvage what he could of the situation, but there were some things that just weren't fixable at that point.

I would encourage you to get a lawyer, especially if kids are involved. Its a messy process that isn't simple or cheap and it only gets worse if you don't take care of it right the first time.

February 18, 2010
7:27 am
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nvr2late
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I truly thank you all for your posts..this is what i have decided. I will consult a lawyer, and hold the court date open with him/her. I can handle all the stuff that comes my way until then, as I have been (I have gone through a year of law school and decided to not continue). NOt that that helps in anyway!

but onlyboring...my motivation is this...there needs to be a change (it is 50/50 now) my son has had some diagnosis that certainly need to be addressed, my ex does not believe some of them, and we are doing further testing for LD. I have taken the active role in all of this, I have set up every appointment and handled every item of our children's lives. If there is a GAL and a SW involved...my thought is that the report will come out and a decision could be made on that alone.

Money is a big factor, as we spend a TON of money in our divorce over things that made no difference in the end. He spend $70K and I spend $40K ...crazy money!

I know that this is going to be a tough battle, although I dont' think it will be (gut feeling) and we are ordered through mediation, which took place yesterday and will continue in 2 weeks.

so, we might be able to resolve a lot of things in that. I will wait to see how that turns out, I know I am taking a huge chance here, but there are experts involved (many of them) looking out for the best interests of the children..and I can't imagine that a nasty custody fight will be the answer.

which is what makes me nervous. I am filing all things with the court that I am suppose to and doing all the things ordered to, so I am wondering what you all think a lawyer can do that I cannot?

and our children are old enough to have a say, not that they don't want to be with their father, but they do know what he is like and how difficult it is to work with him...it is a fight to work against him ALL the time...on testing, help for the children..just does not seem like their best interests are being taken into consideration.

I love that everyone is writing and believe me, I AM listening!!!

nvr

February 18, 2010
8:48 am
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A lawyer is not emotionally involved. They are not a principle to the transaction. I still think you are making a huge mistake. Nothing like a year of law school to give you the confidence to know what you are doing.

I had it presented to me this way once, a pilot lands a plane each time by a procedure and each time he lands it he gets better. A lawyer is the same way. Pretend you are on a plane landing at a practically snowed in airport. Who do you want landing the plane? The pilot who has been flying in and out of that airport for the past 10 years or the one who just got his pilots license?

Bitsy

February 18, 2010
9:25 pm
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marypoppins
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nvr,

Ultimately, it's your decision, and you and your children will live with the consequences.

It shows strength that you're willing to be honest on this board and thank those who are responding. People often solicit advice but then get upset when they don't like the responses.

Being dishonest with ourselves keeps us unhealthy, but only by moving away from our old, familiar, unhealthy comfort zones can we really change, in my opinion.

It's always easier to tell others what they should do than face our own lives. That's what codependency is all about.

So, it is good, I feel, that you have put yourself out here, and you are examining this. Personally, I would be much too afraid to go into court without an attorney, especially if it concerned my child. I would rather be "safe than sorry". By knowing as much as you do and learning even more, however, you're definitely in a position to determine whether or not you have a lawyer who is doing everythng possible. And you could possibly handle some things yourself, outside of court, which might reduce the time your attorney spends on your case. It does not seem, however, that you would want to take a gamble of any kind in this situation.

Good luck to you.

Mary

February 18, 2010
9:25 pm
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fantas
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All the best with this and I truly hope it is very easy process for you..

February 19, 2010
6:16 am
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nvr2late
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Thank you all..and I just got an analogy also from the dean of the law school...you would not hire a dentist to do your plumbing 🙂
that is very true! and my kids are wayyyy too important not to do all I can to help them. So, yes....consulting a lawyer is the way to go...hopefully finding someone that has an opening for the court date, which I don't have a solid one yet...mediation continues, the Social worker contacted me, I have a meeting with her in 2 weeks...so, it is all rolling..but the hard part (court part) is where I will need some help.

I do not believe in ANY way that a year of law school did anything for me! I have moved on and getting my MBA in Global Supply Chain. So, you can see that I changed drastically and moved away from that thought!

I guess it was my thought that with all the people involved, looking out for the children, that I would not have to worry about what his lawyer will do, but I think that is not the case anymore. You are all right!

I need someone that has the experience in a courtroom, and knows what can and cannot be brought out.

She would make a fool of me and go on and on about how valuable their time is to be teaching some 'wanna-be' lawyer 🙂

yes, it would not be a good situation!

you have helped me see the light!

This is why I come onto this site, I value everyone's opinions and you talk sense into me. and sometimes I can listen!
ha ha!

thank you all again!
nvr

February 19, 2010
7:25 am
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bonni
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If it comes down to it, we don't intend to involve lawyers. Neither of us want to spend what would have been the college fund that way. I will get a lawyer if it becomes less than amicable, but as long as we can agree without a lawyer, that's our intention.

bonni

February 19, 2010
7:44 am
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Bonni in some situations that is what is best all around. When I got my own divorce my attorney wanted to go in like a "bulldog" and have my ex husband give me money for the "pain, suffering, and mental anguish" and "putting my life in jeopardy taking drugs" for the infertility we went through. I had to dial him down a notch or two and just explain I wanted out.

Good luck Nevertoolate. I wish you well.

Bitsy

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