if you're representing yourself
 
The e-courses offer information and education on divorce-related issues, but no legal advice. I'm not creating a lawyer-client relationship with e-course participants (or divorce coaching clients). 

For advice on dealing with legal issues most effectively and how to choose among the many options available, you'll need to either:

1. hire an attorney to handle all aspects of your divorce litigation;
2. retain a lawyer who works as an interdisciplinary team member within a collaborative law model;
3. hire an attorney who is willing to handle specific tasks on a piecemeal bases, such as explaining options, reviewing legal pleadings, assisting you with drafting, or appearing for you at a court hearing;  OR
4. personally do necessary research and investigation so you fully understand state laws, appellate case law, court rules, and federal laws & regulations with applicability to divorce and family law.

If you've decided not to hire a lawyer, you'll need to thoroughly educate yourself on your state's divorce statutes and case law, state and local court rules, tax and pension law, and so on. Judges expect pro se litigants (pronounced pro-say) to demonstrate the same level of skill and knowledge that it demands of attorneys. While that's usually unrealistic, that's the expectation. so representing yourself is a big job. Make sure you're willing to assume the substantial risks and responsibilities of proceeding without an experienced divorce lawyer in your corner. Nobody's going to come to your rescue if you make mistakes.

 

To investigate your options and get a sense of whether you might be capable of  self-representation, you can likely find legal forms, family law guides, "how to" articles in various legal publications, as well as books containing your state's divorce laws and court rules at your local law library. It's usually located in or near the courthouse and is generally open to the public. Call ahead for information about access, hours and what's available. Don't be afraid to ask the law librarian for help finding things or to orient you regarding what's available. They're often great resources, so be especially considerate of them. 

 

Many states also have services designed to assist do-it-yourselfers with forms and basic procedural guidelines. In a few states, these services are free, but often if you talk to a real person for information and even minimal assistance, the programs are fee-based. The Clerk's Office or Court Services department for your county's trial or family courts can usually guide you to the right spot if such services are available in your local area. 


State by State Guide for Pro Se Litigants


For access to online resources available in your state, I've provided the chart below. Click on the name of the place you live for more information. The link should take you to the state court, bar association, or legal services website for your state that provides information and assistance to people representing themselves. It was up to date as of July 15, 2015. (If you find a broken link on this page, please email me to let me know so I can correct it).