Study: More help needed for unrepresented in family court

Some jurisdictions report it's becoming the norm for at least one party to act on his or her own behalf in family court, often because trained help is out of financial reach.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Donna Bryson
Associated Press (AP)
June 10, 2016

Tags: Access to Justice, Justice for All, Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


In 2013, the American Bar Association noted studies showing the number of people going to court without lawyers was increasing across the country, with between 60 and 90 percent of family law cases involving at least one party who had no legal representation.

Jason Drake, who also was interviewed for the Denver study, said the $5,000 he could afford in legal fees was only enough for the early stages of a divorce case that started in 2012. He finished on his own in 2014, informing himself in law libraries and online.

The 40-year-old machine technician from Orange, Massachusetts, estimated he spent four to six hours a day on his case, time he said he should have devoted to his two children during a stressful period. His former wife had a lawyer.