The prospect of handling your own case without the services of a solicitor is daunting for anyone. While it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand, ignoring the court is the easiest way to ensure that your ex gets exactly what he is asking the court for.
Fairness is important in family court. The magistrates have an obligation to ensure that you understand the proceedings you are involved in. Not knowing the correct court procedure or jargon will not go against you, but an absence at court certainly will.
The only consideration that the family courts are concerned with is what is in the best interests of the children at the heart of case. Every point that you make should be focused on what is in the very best interests of your child. Solely focusing on ‘your rights’, and all of the reasons why you are right is the wrong path to take and could work against you.
Understanding all of the arguments for your case and against it will greatly assist your preparation. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses will help you to be as persuasive as possible, not to mention enable you to run your case more effectively. As you will be questioned on the points that make up your case, knowing it from every angle will help you to feel confident and prepared.
Family court magistrates will make their decisions based on the recommendation of CAFCASS, evidence and the ‘likelihood’ of one case being truer than the other. This means that being persuasive and confident in your argument will be your greatest weapon. It is not enough to simply state that your ex is an unfit father. You have to be able to prove it so, what evidence have you got to support your claims?
As a Litigant you will have to build, manage and present your case to the magistrates. The typical tasks that you will have to perform for yourself include:
- Responding to applications
- Form filling
- Taking calls from CAFCASS and your ex’s solicitor
- Receiving and responding to letters
- Liaising with the court and other parties
A lot of paperwork accumulates when you handle your own case. File everything in a folder and keep a log of all phone calls. Use dividers to separate the different types of paperwork e.g. court orders, applications, solicitor letters, CAFCASS.
Organisation and a calm mind will help you to access information easily and handle the different communications effectively.
Is there something more that you could add? Do you have any tips to help a Litigant mother prepare and organize her case? Leave a comment and show your support.