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This post is the third post in a series where we alert you to the pitfalls of the Do It Yourself divorce.

Pitfall #3 Failure to understand court procedure.

Louisiana procedure is technical and not intuitive.  Lawyers are required to take classes in law school to prepare them for courtroom procedure because courtroom  procedure is complex.  Not only does each state have its own rules for courtroom procedure, nearly district within Louisiana has its own “local rules.” To add more to the mix,  each judge has his or her way of doing things.  You need to know all three sets of rules to be successful in court.

The Risks

If you don’t know and follow the rule, you can not show the court your side of the case. For example, you want the court to consider a document you brought with you.   But, if you don’t know the rules of evidence, the court may decline to consider your document. Perhaps you didn’t “lay foundation”  or you didn’t “authenticate” or the other side objects.   You may miss deadlines related to your case resulting in your case being dismissed.

A court proceeding is no place to wing it. You will be spending hundreds of dollars on court fees with our without an attorney.   Your will have wasted that money if your case is thrown out or your claims denied.  If you don’t like the outcome, you will probably be stuck with it.  Appeals are very expensive and winning an appeal is not easy.  The best place to win your case is in the trial court, not the appeals court.

We recently spoke with a woman who represented herself in the child custody phase of her divorce.  While she had a strong case, she lost custody of her kids.   She lost because she did not understand how to get her evidence before the court for consideration. The court made the decision without her evidence and awarded custody of the children to the husband. It will be very difficult and expensive change custody now.

Don’t risk a disaster.  Instead, hire an experienced family law lawyer to protect your interests and make sure your divorce is valid.  Shelley Goff at Goff and Goff Attorneys has been practicing family law for 28 years.  Call us. We can help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible.  318-255-1760.