According to the Colorado Judicial Branch 2016 Annual Statistical Report, starting at page 32, there were 34,966 family law court filings in 2016. In speaking with court clerks, some will say that up to 70 percent of those are done by people without attorneys. We’ve written on the subject of proceeding without an attorney several years ago, but I figured an update was in order. The legal system is a unique area of practice in that it allows for individuals to represent themselves (a term referred to as appearing “pro se”) in a Court of Law. This holds true for Denver family law cases. However, the court will still hold them to the same standard as a practicing, licensed attorney. So, what do you do when you find yourself being brought to court or needing to take someone to court with a family law dispute?
It takes two to tango and the same can be said for a non-contested case. More often than not, there are going to be issues that the parties cannot agree on or may be entirely unaware of. The court cannot give you legal advice, so where do you turn to ensure that your rights and interests are being protected? That’s where having an attorney is invaluable. Having an an experienced family law attorney in your corner adds that extra layer of protection and insight.
The unfortunate reality is that conflict has a cost. Abraham Lincoln said, “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” Attorneys do not work for free and they cannot finance your case for you. However, the way I recommend clients look at it is as an investment in their future. You are retaining an attorney for their expertise and ability to get you through this process. A majority of the work that I do on a daily basis is trying to undue or fix past outcomes because a person did not have a lawyer and tried to do it themselves. Some of the hardest cases for me to turn down are ones where a person calls because they have a final hearing coming up last minute and are not prepared. If available, I will certainly take those cases on. However, when an attorney is not available for a last minute hearing, the litigant may end up having to do the case on their own. The hope and goal are that you only have to go through this process once, so let’s do it right the first time. Continue reading