Our lawyers here face a challenge. How do we help clients who are trying to navigate the court system on their own? Aside from our livelihood depending on being hired to do the work, there are a million reasons why it’s better to have an attorney represent you. Divorce and family law issues can be complicated and difficult, which often leads to either costly errors or a dead end for the average person without an attorney.
In a meeting with a close friend of the family this week I was reminded of just how complicated the legal system is to a non-lawyer attempting to do things themselves. This person had many disputes with their ex-wife, including parenting time violations, nonpayment of child support (he has physical custody), noncompliance with medical insurance coverage for the children, and nonpayment of medical bills for the children.
After spending well over an hour and a half trying to be helpful, this person was probably no further along handling all of this on his own than before we started reviewing things. He had substantive questions, such as, “do I have to sign the quit claim deed that she is asking me to sign?” He also had procedural issues, like “how do I change the court date and how do I file a re-praecipe?” I did my best to answer these and many, many other questions, but there are not enough answers to properly educate someone on every aspect of practicing law themselves. Like many other professions, it’s complicated and must be learned through education, training and practice.
At ADAM, we continue to help both those clients who are hiring an attorney, and those who will be trying to do some work on their own. But legal matters involve more than just filling out a form on line, and that will never change.