Austin Travis & Williamson County Texas Divorce Attorney
Representing Yourself Pro Se in a Divorce Case
There are advantages and disadvantages in representing oneself pro se in a divorce proceeding or family law case such as a custody dispute. Some of the immediate advantages include the following:
1. Not having to pay an attorney for legal fees;
2. Ability to make your own legal arguments; and
3. Some sympathy from the court or jury;
Although as simple as it may seem, the disadvantages may outweigh its advantages. For example, although the process may seem simple, legal procedure is fraught with complex meaning and ramifications. Frequently, the question arises, "do I really need a lawyer...?"
On most cases, the answer is generally yes. Courts are also not easily inclined to have sympathy on pro se litigants. As one court put it, "While we have compassion for the plight of the pro se litigant attempting to follow the rules of legal procedure and substantive laws, and therefore construe pro se pleadings and briefs liberally, we must still hold appellant to the same standard as a licensed attorney, requiring that he follow those same rules and laws
Mansfield State Bank v. Cohn
, 573 S.W.2d 181, 184‑85 (Tex. 1978);
Cooper v. Circle Ten Council Boy Scouts of Am
., 254 S.W.3d 689, 693 (Tex. App.- Dallas 2008, no pet.). To do otherwise would give a pro se litigant an unfair advantage over a litigant represented by counsel.
Mansfield State Bank
, 573 S.W.2d at 185; Cooper, 254 S.W.3d at 693.