By Gerri Elder
Wading through a sea of legal documents and attempting to make sense of it all is not what most people like to do for fun. Granted, divorce is not usually a fun process, but having a divorce lawyer can often make things a lot less complicated for everyone. Still some people choose to represent themselves during their divorce cases and often get in over their heads.
According to the Associated Press, judges in Ohio say that this is causing an already sluggish system to slow down even more.
Although it is understandable in this sluggish economy that many people feel that they can save money by not having to pay a divorce lawyer, some family court judges find it frustrating when neither party in a divorce is represented by a lawyer. Divorce paperwork and court procedures that may be all in a day's work for busy divorce lawyers can be really confusing for the average person to try to decipher.
When neither party in a divorce has a lawyer, it can be a nightmare for judges, but when one person has a divorce lawyer and the other does not, it can be a rather dangerous proposition for the person with no legal background who decides to represent themselves. Divorce lawyers are not known for putting on kid gloves and attempting to educate the opposing party on legal matters, therefore, a person without a lawyer can really be put through the wringer.
While many people may consider the expense of hiring a divorce lawyer as an expense they can avoid, it may actually cost people who decide to represent themselves more in the long run if they are unable to navigate the system and negotiate a fair divorce settlement for themselves. Often people who are going through a divorce are so emotionally wound up that they cannot determine what is fair, and this is yet another reason that having a divorce lawyer is a good idea.
The question may not be whether or not a divorce lawyer can be afforded, but rather can you afford not to have one?
Americans have the right to represent themselves in court; however, when acting as their own lawyer, a person is really taking a chance that the judge will not be sympathetic to the fact that they are not familiar with the proper procedures and slow down enough to explain what is actually going on. This scenario can really be a disaster heaped with humiliation.
People who represent themselves in their divorce cases tend to ask a lot of questions of the court staff and judge, and can be in for a rude awakening when no free legal help is available. It is against the law for any person who is not a lawyer to give legal advice. Additionally, lawyers are hesitant to give legal advice to people that they do not represent because the advice may be misunderstood or misapplied to a case or set of circumstances for which it was not intended.