Complications Fathers Face in Family Court California

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Through my long battle with the family court system as a single father and self-represented litigant, I found that the system in California could be biased towards litigants who represent themselves. According to the California Law Review, most of the litigants are self-represented and cannot afford the prohibitively high costs for private counsel that can charge over $300 per hour and requires a retainer of approximately $5000. Litigants who take the approach of self-representation, rather private counsel usually don’t know how to defend their interests in court. They put themselves at a disadvantage in a legally and factually complex judicial system that is tremendous. Moreover litigants do not have the right to appointed counsel there is currently no law that provides appointment of counsel in family law matters. I can assure you I arrived at court discouraged and without hope. I was confused in court without counsel; the difficulties I faced was normal because the court system, which are designed to work with litigants that are represented by attorneys. Civil litigation matters such as, child custody and visitation; petitioners and respondents tend to have strong emotional dynamics. This may impact the values and interests on your judgment when representing yourself, I’ve experience some of these complexities while representing myself in family court. I didn’t know the rules, procedures, and correct forms to file, at this point I became frustrated and looked to focus blame on the system for my frustrations. With no help during this time the ignorance slowed the process of my argument in court. I felt as though the judge had it out for me and didn’t want me to see my daughter. Why was I being denied the right to be a parent for my daughter? If I only had the help needed to properly file the motions required I could get my interest heard and the results I was seeking. The misinterpretation and false impression I had of the proceeding being easy further...
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