You’re worried about your finances, and you’re thinking you should just represent yourself. But can you win a custody battle without a lawyer? Find out here!
Divorce and splitting up a home can be very expensive. When you add the cost of a child custody battle, you look for somewhere, often anywhere, to cut your expenses.
And since no one knows your child better than you do, you should represent yourself in court. Right? Wrong, often terribly wrong.
Those who represent themselves in child custody cases take a huge risk – they could lose the case and their children.
A trained lawyer who fights alongside you is your best likelihood to win. Here’s why:
You know your children, their needs, maybe even their wishes. You believe you’re the best person to raise them. But how familiar are you with the laws that address child custody?
There’s so much more involved than just your certainty. The other side will fight just as hard as you for custody. To have someone who can counter their claims and show legal cause for your position is usually be the difference in winning or losing.
The biggest advantage of having a lawyer handle your custody case is they’re trained in all the appropriate laws.
The court system is a complicated maze of documents, hearings, judges and other details you must handle with precision and timeliness.
Paperwork must be completed correctly and filed on time and to the right place. Hearings are scheduled and mandatory. They’re difficult to reschedule. And tardiness can damage your case.
Someone also has to stand before the judge, present evidence and argue on your behalf. That can be very intimidating without experience.
Your lawyer will be familiar with the other parties involved. They may be aware of recent rulings or decisions by the assigned judge and use that to formulate the best strategy.
They may have faced the opposing attorney and know what tactics to expect. Your goal is anything that helps you build a winning child custody case.
Another point to consider is how you respond to pressure. The court requires all who appear to remain calm and behave reasonably. Custody battles are very emotional. If you lose your temper quickly or overreact, you shouldn’t represent yourself.
If you’ve seen any legal proceeding, you know a thorough investigation is vital to uncover the relevant facts.
An investigation takes time, and there are many things to consider in a child custody case. Every lead should be developed before you go to court.
Most of us aren’t trained detectives. To cover everything that might come out during a custody hearing takes someone with investigative experience.
To make a winning case, you may need to have witnesses appear in court. Subpoenas may have to be issued. Such witnesses must be prepped for their court date.
It takes someone experienced in custody battles to prepare witnesses to testify effectively.
You also might present an expert witness to discuss an aspect of your case. A lawyer will know how to find the best expert and coordinate their court appearance.
You, too, will need to testify. Talk to your attorney and let them help you be prepared for the hearing.
In addition to witnesses, you’ll need to present evidence in court. Evidence can come in many forms. It could be police reports, medical records, copies of emails or text messages, and other documents or photos.
You don’t want to overlook a crucial piece. Also, there are specific ways to handle evidence so it can be submitted to the court.
Any parent who fights for custody of their child is extremely invested in the outcome. You work to protect your child and to prove you’re the best choice to be the custodial parent.
But your emotional commitment could cause you to lose focus if you represent yourself.
Even if you choose an uncontested divorce, your children and their custody bring up a completely different depth of feeling.
The other side could use your emotionalism to rattle and confuse you.
It’s in your best interest, and the interest of your child, to have an experienced attorney trained in child custody. Leave the tough decisions and action plans to the professional so you can concentrate on your child.
Of course, legal representation costs money. But it could cost you more if you represent yourself.
If you lose your case, the opposing side could ask the court to make you pay their legal fees. If the judge rules in their favor, you would still owe a large amount.
It’s better to invest in the best lawyer to win the war for your child’s custody.
Who represents you in a child custody battle should boil down to who gives you the best chance to win. Trying to “economize” by being your own lawyer risks the loss of your child.
Let our experienced lawyers fight for and help you win the most important legal battle you’ll face.