Representing Yourself in a Custody Battle—Can you Win?

Posted by Joseph Lento | Dec 15, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you're embroiled in a custody battle, you know how stressful—and expensive—it can be. You may also feel the best person to tell your side of the story is you.

Pro Se, meaning to argue on one's behalf, can be an appealing option, but success is highly dependent on the unique circumstances of a case. Here are some things to think about before embarking on self-representation.

Who Are You Up Against?

If the other parent of your children has hired counsel, they will have a sophisticated knowledge of the law, the courts, and how cases are adjudicated. A crash course probably can't stand up to years of practice.

Go to Court.

See what an actual hearing entails and get a sense of the questions the judge and the lawyers are asking. You should also contact the court clerk to determine exactly which documents you would need for your day in court. Also, it may sound shallow, but take note of what people are wearing and get a feel for what is appropriate. Be honest with yourself about what you know about navigating the system.

What's the Real Cost to You?

It is a good idea to reach out to family law practitioners in your area to get a ballpark estimate of what they will charge. When you weigh the options, calling on a professional will likely give you the best outcome and be cost-effective.

Think about how much time you will need to take for research and bear in mind a lawyer can do it quickly and much more effectively. What other things in your life would you have to put on the back burner to make time for that?

It may seem like a way to save money, but if you lose out on precious moments (now and later) with your children and have a case drag on, an appeal can be much more costly. Doing it right in the first place can preserve your money and your time.

Think About the Future

What if someday you want to pursue a job opportunity out of state? How different will your kids' needs and preferences be when they are teens and not toddlers? If your custody agreement does not include some provisions for the future, you might wind up back in court again sooner than you think, or find your hands tied by your amateur efforts. An experienced lawyer can advise you on what you should include in a custody agreement to protect you now and in the future.

Going it Alone Is a Big Risk

Acting on your own behalf in something as critical as child custody is a big risk. Our Family Law Team and the LLF Law Firm have represented and counseled countless clients on this serious matter in key family courts in New Jersey.

If you have questions about the best way to achieve a successful outcome, call the LLF Law Firm at 888.535.3686.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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