Do you need a trial lawyer for a family law case?
Dealing with legal issues is not fun at the best of times, and every aspect of it is a complex thing that requires someone who can understand the process well. This, however, is not required in every legal situation; for example, in a criminal case, a person may choose to represent themselves instead of having an attorney represent them. One question that may come up is whether one can represent themselves in any legal capacity, and that is a question we will answer today.
Do you need a trial lawyer in a family law case?
Some people may be tempted to go ahead with any number of legal matters without having an attorney backing them up. And while there may be some incidents where a person was actually successful and did not have to pay someone to represent them in court, that is simply not the norm. In most cases, you are going to lose without a lawyer by your side. And honestly, it is not necessarily because the person is guilty or because the person is bad at making their case. Rather, it is a matter of having to be a regular person competing with the other side which DOES have a lawyer on its side. The fact of the matter is, they know how to twist things, to make things seem true when they're false and vice versa, to convince a judge and/or a jury that the claim you are making lacks merit and to side with them on the case instead. When representing yourself, you also lack the guidance of an attorney who knows what to do and what not to do. If a person representing themselves does something that is particularly egregious to trial decorum, it can make you look bad in front of the judge. Even if you do win without having a trial lawyer at your side, the level of success you have at trial may still be reduced versus how successful you could be with a legal professional providing you support.
Things are a little different when it comes to dealing with a family law case in particular, but a lot of the principles still apply. Family law does not always go straight to an evidentiary hearing; if these legal matters can be settled amicably, it obviously doesn't have to get much further than that. Having an attorney on hand in a divorce case, for example, can do a world of good to ensure that the result of the case benefits you — or, at the very least, the result is not as damaging as it could have been. One thing that often throws a wrench into a well-run family law trial is heightened tensions, as there is inevitably going to be a good degree of animosity in a lot of family law trials. For example, what if the divorce is not entirely amicable? In such a tense situation, it is not at all unreasonable that a single wrong thing said could exacerbate tensions even further. By having a trial lawyer on your side, they can use the skills they've gathered over time in conflict resolution and, even better, trying to keep things from growing into a conflict more so than it already has.
In general, a good trial lawyer can also prep you for your trial, having created a strong roadmap for the trial and anticipating any and all roadblocks that may occur. The last thing they want to see happen is your case getting messed up, causing what could have been a relatively speedy and efficient trial to become relatively slow and drawn out. When things stop being amicable between both parties in a family law case, the judge moves on to the evidentiary hearing portion, where you will be expected to produce relevant evidence to use against the other partner or partners in the family law case. A quality trial lawyer will help you get as much evidence as you can, and utilize the evidence available the best that you can. The trial lawyer will have a number of tools available to them, as your opponent's trial lawyer will as well. Your trial lawyer can depose a witness (along with the other one) with the judge not present, and verifying that the meeting did actually occur. The trial lawyer will also seek out other things, such as clarifications from the opposition that they either did or did not do the thing they are accused of, if applicable. They may also seek out evidence from the other side or set up interrogaties, a set of written questions to be asked of someone while they are on the stand and under oath. These processes, as discussed, are also tools of the other side, and you should absolutely ensure that you do not take them lightly. A trial lawyer is vital to help catch potential minefields like that. Once you have gotten to the point of needing a trial lawyer for your family law case, consider setting up a consultation with the experts at Wolfe and Stec. We will help you figure out your family law case and try to get the best result for you.
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