Family Law

How to tell when you need a family lawyer and the dangers of fighting it on your own.

When is it time to hire a family lawyer?

Of course what you expect to hear from a lawyer about when you should hire them is something along the lines of “the sooner the better.” And not to upset you further – but the sooner you hire a lawyer, the better the shot is for them to achieve the results that you desire. One tell-tale sign that you need to hire a family lawyer A.S.A.P. is if you’re being served papers by the person you’re fighting that they are taking you to court. A good family attorney knows the best way to respond to those papers as well as all of the nitpicky rules that go along with the legal process, such as time limits to respond and things you can say but shouldn’t because they might ruin you in court. This warning sign means double if you’re opponent has hired an attorney to write up those papers to send you.

If you do go it alone, what could go wrong?

Simple answer . . . everything. Very few lawyers wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to win their case for their client as quickly and easily (and inexpensively) as possible when they learn that the other side of the lawsuit – their opponent, the person they are suing or who their client is being sued by – is appearing pro se, the fancy legal Latin term meaning “by oneself.” Family lawyers didn’t spend a bunch of money to go to law school just so they could lose in a court of law to a nonlawyer. The legal process from start to finish is an intricate one and missing one step or one deadline may mean the end to your lawsuit and the beginning of even worse troubles for yourself.

A few examples of what could happen if you decide you’re better off on your own.

1. You fail to follow a court order and get held in contempt, being forced to pay an additional fine or even go to jail.
2. You fail to adequately respond to something served on you by the other side and when you get to Court, the Judge tells you “You can’t bring that up. You should’ve said that weeks ago when you had the chance.”
3. You file a complaint for divorce on your own and show up to Court where you learn the process will keep dragging on because you didn’t argue a ground for divorce under the law, you can’t prove the things that you think entitle you to a divorce, or it gets thrown out all together because you filed it in the wrong place.

This short list is really without end. If you think the time is coming for you to lawyer up, do it now. But better late than never and our experienced attorneys are here to help.

About the Author
Charlie Cunningham

Charlie C. Cunningham

Lawyer

Born, raised, and educated entirely in Arkansas, Charlie is passionate about helping Arkansas families through the court system. As a DHS attorney throughout the State, Charlie has helped hundreds of children, parents, and adults achieve positive outcomes through appropriate DHS agencies and services. Charlie understands the seriousness of any legal proceeding that involves someone’s child or loved one, and his…

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