I have seen many people try to represent themselves in Wake County Family Court, most don’t do a very good job at it.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some general guidelines. I hope they help:
- You will be expected to know the local rules, the rules of evidence, and the law. This means you need to educate yourself. Some attorneys including me, will agree to provide consulting services at hourly or flat rates to make you better prepared.
- Most of the statutory law for divorce, custody, alimony, child support, etc. is found in Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
- Evidentiary rules can be complicated. There are hearsay rules and there are exceptions. When in doubt have live witnesses in court ready to testify rather than trying to use letters and affidavits.
- The Wake County Family Court Rules and many helpful forms can be found on the NC AOC website.
- The Wake County Family Court Calendar is available online.
- Promptly comply with discovery requests and disclosure requirements.
- Comply with subpoenas.
- Is you want a subpoena you will need to get it signed by the clerk or the judge per Rule 45.
- Be on time for court appearances.
- Dress appropriately for court.
- When an objection is made in court wait for the judge to rule and don’t talk over the judge.
- Stand up when addressing the judge.
- Ask permission when in doubt about something you want to do in the courtroom (such as approaching the judge or a witness on the witness stand).
- Make at least three copies of documents you want to try to get into evidence.
- Treat everyone respectfully even if you don’t particularly like your ex, his/her lawyer, etc.
For Part 2 read this article on the Wake County Local Rules
"Scott was wonderful throughout the long process and it was clear to me that Scott was knowledgeable of case-law and the Wake County Court system, as well as being especially strong in court. His representation resulted in additional parenting time following the temporary custody trial and since the case proceeded to a full trial, I was ultimately awarded the custody arrangement I was seeking. My daughters reside in Wake County and now if my ex-wife chooses to relocate, I’ll have full legal custody of the girls. Throughout the process, Scott was responsive, provided extremely helpful advice, and genuinely cared about the outcome of my case. I would strongly recommended Scott’s representation for custody matters."
"Cared About My Situation"
I was out of options and Scott was there to help. I have spoken to or met many attorney's in Wake County and Scott was the only one that REALLY actually cared about my situation. It sounds cliche' but it's not. I could clearly tell that Scott had given a lot of thought to my case. Scott has extensive knowledge of the law. That knowledge coupled with his cerebral approach and courtroom presence were a savior. - Ken
"Scott Allen and his team were sensational during my divorce proceedings. They kept me well-informed of the procedures, requirements, and options. They took the time to explain to me at every step of the decisions and options as we moved forward in my life. Their support, knowledge and presence were comforting in my time of need and help me get through the ordeal. While no divorce is pleasant outcome they help me secure my life and begin a new chapter with a fresh start. Their extensive knowledge of the law and arbitration and negotiation skills were invaluable in getting a good settlement and resolution. I am very pleased that I selected Scott and his team to represent me. I would emphatically recommend Scott and to anyone who is facing a divorce or possibility of a divorce."
"Fought for My Rights"
I wanted to go to court and he went with it. During the initial hearing and all the subsequent hearings he fought for my rights and presented my case diligently and proved the claims by the other party to be false. Most of the lawyers, will tell you settle as it saves them and the court time, but it might not be always in your best interest. Scott is not those lawyers, he really cares about his clients and is not afraid to litigate or fight for his client’s right in the court. - Susan
"I Began to Sleep Better at Night"
Scott Allen took my divorce case after my first lawyer failed to stand for my rights.Scott took the case and I began to sleep better at night. My marriage ended from abuse so I was very weary. - Felicia