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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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If I dont want to hire a lawyer to apply for custody, do I

Resolved Question:

If I don't want to hire a lawyer to apply for custody, do I still have to show up in custody court with the lawyer? I was told court wouldn't listen to me without a lawyer
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your new question and thank you very much for requesting me.
You're entitled to represent yourself in any legal matter and the court should take you seriously as long as you are prepared and professional. The problem that people run into is that they don't know the law, legal procedure, and they are simply unprepared to represent themselves in court. I would not recommend trying to represent yourself in court for this reason. Laypeople who attempt to represent themselves often compromise their own interests and do more damage than good, even when matters seem very clear to them. While an attorney may be costly, retaining an attorney can be an excellent investment to protect your interests, as failing to retain one can have far more costly consequences.
Now, that said, if you want to represent yourself, there are resources available for that purpose. I have included some below, as they may be useful to you if you do decide to represent yourself.

California Courts Self-Help Center. Judicial Council of California. This comprehensive statewide self-help Web site provides information legal help, small claims, family law, domestic violence, traffic violations, and much more. Information is also available in different languages.

Family Court Facilitators. Judicial Council of California. Locates family law facilitator in each county. A family law facilitator is a lawyer with experience in family law who works for the superior court in your county to help parents and children involved in family law cases with child, spousal, and partner support problems.

Self-Help Center. Judicial Council of California.

Family Law Information Centers Statewide Office of Family Court Service.

Amador County Self-Help Web site
Butte County Self-Help Web site
Calaveras County Self-Help Web site
Colusa Court Self-Help Information
Contra Costa Virtual Self Help Law Center
Del Norte County Self Help Center
El Dorado County Self Represented Litigants Services
Fresno County: Representing Yourself
Glenn County Self Help Resources
Los Angeles County: Family Law Self Help
Los Angeles County: Probate Self Help
Marin County Legal Self Help Center
Mariposa County Self Help Center
Mendocino Self Help Legal Access Center
Riverside County Online Self Help Resources
San Joaquin County Self Help Resources
San Mateo Self Help Center
Santa Clara County Self Service Center
Santa Cruz County Self Help Center
Sierra County Courts Self Help Links
Siskiyou County Self Help Links
Sonoma County Self Help Access Center
Ventura County Legal Self Help

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, I have those resources, thanks, XXXXX XXXXX want to know when hearing is scheduled, do I have to show up with the attorney (btw, can I hire "one-time" attorney just for that court date?) or I can go just by myself? Also, can paraligal represent me?
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
A paralegal cannot represent you or provide you with legal advice. Only a license attorney can do that.
You can represent yourself without an attorney. However, as I mentioned previously, I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of people go to court without having an attorney with them, but it's generally unwise.
You may be able to get an attorney to represent you on a limited basis. That's something you'd have to discuss with your attorney of choice. However, that may not be practical because your attorney would still need to prepare for court and that alone could be time consuming. As a professional in the field, your attorney wouldn't want to go in simply as your proxy and work on the information you have given him as a layperson, as that could result in incompetence and liability on his part.
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