Three Big Rhode Island Divorce Mistakes by People who Represent Themselves!
Monday, September 24, 2012
When you want a cheap divorce and you decide to represent yourself be prepared for the for these five (5) major mistakes that most people who represent themselves make.
MISTAKE NO. 1
Expecting the Rhode Island Family Court Judge to Lead You Through Your Divorce Hearing!
It is not the judge's job to lead you through your divorce hearing. It is your job to know what you are doing when you represent yourself. That includes making sure you are prepared for the court hearing, subjects you need to cover, and what you need to say.
MISTAKE NO. 2
Expecting the Rhode Island Family Court Judge to Protect You at Your Divorce Hearing!
You divorce is about your legal rights. Naturally, if you didn't hire a lawyer and you are going through your divorce proceeding without one then you should be aware that it's your job to protect your own rights at the hearing. If something is not covered by the judge, or the judge doesn't state it, or you forgot to mention something, or you wanted to ask for something, or you wanted your hearing to end everything in your divorce and you didn't testify about something important, then don't expect the judge to make sure it has been covered. So, not only is it not the Judge's job to help you through the divorce hearing, but the judge's job doesn't include protecting your legal rights either. When you represent yourself, it is entirely your obligation to protect your own legal rights.
MISTAKE NO. 3
Expecting Someone to Help You Fill Out the Paperwork for Your Divorce!
Every divorce is different, therefore everyone will have different information to put into even the most basic of Rhode Island Divorce forms you may be given at the Rhode Island Family Court.
As a courtesy, the Rhode Island Family Court has put together a few basic instructions that come with a Rhode Island divorce packet. While these instructions may help you, they actually serve a greater purpose of trying to help the clerks and judges who have to deal with these files and all the people who may be trying to represent themselves. Don't assume that simply because the court prints some fundamental forms to be given to the public that the court staff or anyone at the court is there to help you fill out the paperwork and understand it. Filling in legal forms has been deemed to be "practicing law." The clerks at the court are there to take care of proper filings. The family court clerks aren't there to instruct you on the forms and how to fill them in. They aren't there to tell you what is right or what is wrong with your forms either. Even if you are helped by a person at the Rhode Island Family Court, don't assume that they got it right or that you understood them correctly. They are not lawyers. They may get it right, they may not. However, whatever answer you put in those forms, you are responsible for it.
Everything has its risks. If you don't get legal advice from a licensed professional and you represent yourself then you do so at your own peril.
All My Best to You on Your Journey Through The RI Family Court,
Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall - "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach"™
I'm an Affordable Lawyer who practices divorce exclusively and I am here to help you when you need me.
Call me for your reduced-cost advice session at (401) 632-6976.