10 Tips for the Self Represented in Family Court

Are you representing yourself? Are you scheduled to appear in front of a judge?

Consider these 10 tips before your court date:

  1.  Make sure you are adequately prepared.
  2.  Understand your judge. (Consider observing them in action prior to the date of your hearing.)
  3.  Don't assume your judge has read your file. (Don't ask if they have read it, either.)
  4.  Review local family law court rules to understand procedures.
  5.  Speak directly to the judge (not the other party).
  6.  File clear, concise, well-organized declarations.
  7.  Don't forget to file your Proof of Service for each document you file with the court.
  8.  Calmly present your argument. (Watch your facial expressions and tone.)
  9.  Understand the substantive law. (Not all judges are familiar with family law. You may need to explain to the court what you believe the relevant law is with respect to the issues before the court.)
  10.  Stick to the issues before the court. (You might want to revisit unresolved issues or bring up new matters, but the court will not allow this since (a) time is limited, and (b) there are due process considerations.)
Learn how to prepare for court hearings. Watch our video:


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Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.