Should I represent myself or hire an attorney? What if I cannot afford help?
If you represent yourself during your divorce or family law matter, then you are considered a pro se party. If you choose to proceed without an attorney, the court, generally, will hold you to the same rules as an attorney, including applicable evidence rules at any hearings or trial. Additionally, as a pro se party, the court in general will hold you to any agreements that you enter into in your case. That means if you do not like what happened in your case, you usually cannot claim later that because you did not have the benefit of an attorney you did not know what you were signing or agreeing to, or that you made a mistake in how you handled something. The court cannot give you legal advice, so you will be held to your mistakes. Further, if you act as your own attorney, you will have to continue to deal with your spouse and his or her attorney on all of the issues in your case. This can cause further stress and strain on an already broken marriage or relationship, and it can cause additional stress on you.