Pro Se?

You are the person that feels most passionately about your case, no attorney will ever be as emotionally invested in your case as you are. If we were, it would make us lousy attorneys. An attorney is an advocate who can give you objective advice, advice that is sometimes hard to hear.

I try to keep my advise for my client’s realistic and view their case objectively. One thing that everyone must remember is that the standard in court is the best interests of the child. No child has ever been harmed by too much love, but if one parent has been the primary caregiver, they are generally going to continue as the primary caregiver, even if the other parent is perfectly capable. I do not believe there is a particular bias against men in court, however I believe we still live in a society where it is more common for woman to be the primary caregiver of children. I believe that contributes greatly to the perceived bias against men. I have never been to court with a father who was the primary caregiver and had him lose that status.

It is up to you to determine whether you feel you need an attorney in court. It is not about simply telling the Judge your side of the story, it is about know how to present your case, knowing which facts are relevant and which facts are irrelevant, how to admit a document into evidence. If I ever ended up in court fighting over my children, I would hire a lawyer to represent me.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

I am a divorced father with some visitation privileges seeking primary custody of my children. I have found advise on to be helpful and sound, and supportive comments from non-attorney group members has been especially useful. However…

I have also subscribed this week to several other message groups for fathers seeking custody of their children. I posted some of the same questions in those groups that I presented here. The responses of well-meaning people in those groups have been radically different from those I’ve received here - and I’m wondering why.

Each individual (7 so far) that has responded to my inquiries in the other groups has stated that using an attorney in court is essentially useless. While they recommend using an attorney (each recommended using a female rather than male), they suggested only using an attorney as an advisor and to enter my lawsuit pro se. The consensus among these people, each of whom is male and used an attorney in their own lawsuits, is that attorneys will do little more than I can do in court on my own. They said that attorneys don’t have time to treat my case with the attention it deserves and that I will mount tens of thousands of dollars in debt only to obtain in court what I probably would have been given anyway.

Fathers who have been to court are telling me to do this on my own, with the advise of an attorney. I’m confused. Such advise is contrary to what I feel generally, but so many of them have situations similar to my own and each was shot down by the courts as a result of gender bias.

Other than knowing what forms to file and when to file them, what are the advantages of using an attorney rather than saving the tens of thousands of dollars to fight my case pro se?