When in Doubt, Seek Counsel

Last week, I met a new client who presented as articulate and sharp.  I pulled his file at the courthouse, and learned that he’d filed over twenty complaints for modifications pro se (without the assistance of an attorney).  Many of these motions led to motion hearings, and he wound up appearing before his judge again and again in the past year.

When I asked him why he’d filed so many motions, he said he was just trying to get a final judgment of divorce.  This client is a perfect demonstration of the need for counsel.  He was seeking an obtainable outcome in the entirely wrong way.  His lack of knowledge led him to pursue an inappropriately high number of complaints for modification, which wasted the court’s time repeatedly.   His actions likely caused his judge to develop a bias against him, and potentially set him up for sanctions for frivolous filings.  And, to top it off, he still hadn’t received his final judgment of divorce.

When in doubt, seek legal counsel.  The stakes are high—you do not want to turn your judge against you or face sanctions.  Even a one hour consult could have prevented this client from over-filing the wrong paperwork.