Hiring a family law attorney in Houston is not something that should be taken lightly. The legal process is complex and you should always speak with a few lawyers to find the one that is right for you. Most family lawyers will be content giving you advice, and some may differ, but one thing all of us seem to agree on is that you should not represent yourself in family court.

Yesterday I was in court waiting my turn to approach the Judge. While waiting the Judge called a case wherein the Respondent was representing herself. She was seeking a continuance because she believed that DNA testing that was ordered was not done as ordered. It turns out that the Judge only ordered DNA testing on one child and she thought it was ordered for all three children. When the Judge advised her that the DNA testing had been complied with she asked if there was any other basis for the continuance to which Respondent stated, “No.” The Judge then immediately went into trial.

The Petitioner was represented by an attorney and started to present his case. The attorney was able to ask any question she wanted because the Respondent did not know what questions she could raise an objection. As a result the Petitioner testified to things that may not have been permitted. Further when it was time for Respondent to ask questions of the Petitioner she was not asking appropriate questions. The attorney was objecting to many of her questions. When the Judge instructed her to rephrase the question she could not so the question was never answered.

In the end many of the issues that the Respondent wanted to bring to the court’s attention were not allowed to be presented due to not knowing the proper procedure.

At the conclusion of the trial the Judge made her ruling and set the case for entry. When Respondent asked what that meant the Judge merely told her that’s when the attorney must present the final order to the court. The Judge didn’t tell her that she would have an opportunity to review the order, did not tell her whether she needed to appear on that date, did not provide her any additional guidance.

So when you consider the cost of hiring an attorney also consider the cost of not getting the opportunity to present your case.