(Marin Co. Superior Court/Frank Lloyd Wright Building)
It might not make me popular with some people to write about "self-help" in the legal field and certainly I am not advocating anything Shakespearean, however, I firmly believe that not all legal matters need lawyers.
Unfortunately often during divorces, emotions are running very high and self-help -- or a "do it yourself divorce" -- isn't really a viable option. Sometimes, however, the parties are quite amicable and can actually work quite well together -- they simply want a divorce. In these cases, self-help might be an alternative. In other cases, one or both parties might not be able to afford legal representation and thus they utilize self-help options for financial reasons. (Many counties do offer low income programs that allow people to hire family law attorneys for a very reduced rate; for example I participate in the "Moderate Means" program in one of the counties that I practice in.)
Please note that I am not suggesting that your case can be resolved by using "self-help" and I am not suggesting that you shouldn't seek legal counsel -- I am merely providing some general information to consider. If you think you might be interested in learning more about self-help in a California divorce, the sites listed here might be useful.
- www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-divorce.htm -- This site has basic information for the State of California; it contains many helpful links and a lot of information that can be useful to walk people through their own divorces.
- divorce.cc-courthelp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=633&stopRedirect=1 -- This link is for residents of Contra Costa County, and includes information on residency requirements, and basic definitions, and FAQs.
- http://www.nolo.com/customer-support/getting-divorced-in-california.html -- Nolo Press is a respected publisher of legal self-help books (across many areas of law); for sale from Nolo, and the resources are also be available in some libraries.
- Many counties have self-help centers at the family law courthouses -- check your county for specific information.
I am not recommending that people hire or do not hire attorneys to help them; that is a decision that only the parties can make and in some situations, it might take a consultation with an attorney to determine if it would make sense to proceed without attorneys. When a party is representing herself or himself it is called in propria persona or in short, in pro per.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this blog is to provide general information. Nothing on this blog constitutes legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created. If you wish to seek legal advice about your matter, you should search out an attorney of your choosing.