Self-Representation (Pro Se)

TIPS ON REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN COURT

Dreamstime_1604075 The Court is a very traditional and polite place. When you are representing yourself in Court you are trying to persuade a judge or a jury that you are right. So you must act, dress, and speak in a way that helps you with your case.

  • When you come to Court, dress as professionally as possible. This means clothes that are neat and clean. You should be clean and neatly groomed.

  • How you act is very important. You must be respectful to everyone in Court. This includes the judge, Court staff, the other party involved in your case, witnesses, and people in the hallways.

  • The Court has a very busy schedule, so you must be on time for the judge or for any other appointment. If you are late, your case might get postponed. Make sure you bring all the court documents you need for your appointment.

  • The judge cannot speak to you about your case except when your case is being heard and when the other party is there. The judge’s staff will help you any way they can with questions like when your hearing is scheduled or whether the judge has decided yet on your case. But, staff cannot give you legal advice or recommendations on what you should do. Always be polite with judges and with Court staff, and be prepared to provide any information they request.

  • When you represent yourself in court, get legal advice from a lawyer ahead of time to make sure you are doing the right thing. Legal advice includes deciding what option is best for you.

In summary, always remember the four Ps:

Professionalism
Punctuality
Politeness
Preparation

Following these tips will go a long way toward helping you help yourself in Court.

SOURCE FOR POST: Superior Court of Fulton County (Atlanta Judicial Circuit) with thanks to the Self-Service Center in Maricopa County, Arizona from whom we and they "borrowed" this form.   

Superior Court of Fulton County Family Law Information Center

Family Law Information Center
Justice Center Tower, Suite T-704
185 Central Avenue, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404)335-2789

8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Monday – Friday

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What is the Family Law Information Center (FLIC)?

The Family Law Information Center (FLIC) was developed to assist people who wish to represent themselves in domestic legal matters or educate themselves about domestic issues. Since opening, over 75,000 people have been served in FLIC.

NEW! I-CAN! web-based domestic forms are now available. Click here for more information.

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What type of services are available?

LEGAL FORMS & INSTRUCTIONS

FLIC has legal form packets and instructions available to assist in the following areas (some of which are available on-line):

Divorce
Name Change
Legitimation
Contempt
Child Support Modification
Visitation
Paternity Establishment
Separation Agreement

The FLIC also has individual forms available including:

Acknowledgement of Service
Poverty Affidavit
Rule Nisi
Affidavit of Diligent Search
and a generic affidavit that may be adapted for different situations.

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I-CAN! IS COMING TO THE FULTON COUNTY FAMILY DIVISION

Fulton County Superior Court Family Division has developed several modules in the I-CAN! format in order to make them available to self-represented litigants on the Family Division website. I-CAN! is an interactive web-based system designed to provide self-represented litigants with convenient access to vital legal services. I-CAN! modules create properly formatted pleadings and provide litigants with information on the steps needed to pursue a legal action. Funds for the project were received through a grant from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The I-CAN! program uses a video guide to take users through a series of questions, the answers to which are used to populate the appropriate legal form. I-CAN! facilitates the completion and filing of forms for a variety of domestic legal matters. There are seven modules available on the Family Division website: Child Support/Visitation/Custody; Divorce; Annulment; Income Deduction; Name Change; Legitimation; and Answer and Counterclaim. There will be a Domestic Violence/Stalking module accessible on computer terminals in the Family Division One Stop for the use of petitioners who are seeking Temporary Protective Orders from domestic violence and stalking.

The modules are based on forms that are currently available on the Family Division website and in the Family Law Information Center. Those forms were developed with input from the Bar and the Family Division Judges and staff. All modules will be available in English and in Spanish. It is a requirement that the final printed forms be submitted in English.

Please call the Family Division at 404/224-0505 or the Family Law Information Center (FLIC) at 404/335-2789 if you have questions. I-CAN! provides assistance with completing legal forms based on the litigant’s responses. I-CAN! does not provide legal advice. For individuals who do need legal advice, FLIC offers one half hour of consultation with an attorney at no cost.

The I-CAN! system was developed by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and was jointly sponsored by local, state and public agencies and private organizations including: Legal Services Corporation, Judicial Council of California, State Bar of California-Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, Superior Court–County of Orange, OCDA-Family Support Division, Orange County Public Library System, Disneyland, City of Irvine and City of Fullerton. I-CAN! was a recipient of the Judicial Council of California 2003 Ralph N. Kleps Award for innovative projects and received an award from the National Association for Court Management at its 2004 conference.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FORMS, CLICK HERE

SOURCE: Fulton County Superior Court Family Division

DIY Divorces in Georgia – FAQ’s

While it usually is not a good idea for a person to represent themselves in a contested divorce case, the Judicial Branch of Georgia has some good information and resources on its website:

1. How do I file for divorce?

You must file your petition for divorce with the Superior Court. In most cases, this will be the county in which the defendant resides. Title 19 Chapter 5 of the Georgia Code describes the specific details your petition must include. Once you have filed in the office of the Clerk of court, the clerk will file, record, and date stamp your petition. You must notify the defendant of the petition either by a waiver of service, personal service made by the Sheriff, Marshal or a private process server authorized by the court or by publication as appropriate under the state statutes. The court will charge a filing fee and you may also be required to pay a service or publication fee.

2. How much does it cost to file for divorce?

The Clerk of Court in the county in which you are going to file your case can provide you with an accurate estimate of the total court cost.

3. What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

The end result is different, but the procedure and most of the issues involved are the same. A legal separation does not dissolve the marriage and does not give either spouse the legal capacity to remarry. The order generally defines the rights and responsibilities of the spouses between each other while living apart. On the other hand, a divorce decree, dissolves the marriage. The familial relationship has ended. Tthe spouses can no longer share in the estate of the other spouse, there are no longer any mutual responsibilities of support between the spouses other than those stated in the divorce decree, and each party has the legal capacity to remarry.

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