DIY Divorce Videos
March 6, 2016
70 percent of the divorce proceedings conducted in the Wayne County Circuit Court’s Family Court Division are conducted with at least one party in propria persona. That’s Latin for: you represent yourself.
When that goes down in the county family court, it is generally a bad thing for several reasons, and for everyone involved. The chief problem presented by in pro per litigants is that they consume a disproportionate amount of already scarce judicial resources.
In an effort to combat these statistics and their administrative effect on the family court’s docket, the Wayne County Family Court offers three video links to useful information necessary to file a divorce proceeding; the introductory clip covers all of the administrative requirements needed to get a complaint past the filing clerk like, for example, the filing fee, the DM and DO case classification relative to minor children, and the concept of personal jurisdiction over those who have resided in Michigan for at least 6-months.
All three videos remind viewers that court employees cannot provide legal advice and that the videos accordingly only provide legal information. This clip is a whopping 5+ minutes chock-full of the mechanics of getting a divorce proceeding off-the-ground, complete with oral references to content-related links.
The family law bar has had mixed reviews of this DIY tool. While the Chair of the SBM’s family law section characterized the video links innovative and great thing, the family law bar’s listserv lit-up with indignation at what some lawyers perceive as yet another inroad into their once exclusive professional domain.
We sense that our friend, former Washtenaw County family lawyer Kent Weichman, now serving as the Wayne County Friend of the Court, has had something to do with making these veritable rafts of basic information available to the public. Kent has always been on the cutting-edge of providing legal information to the public; his work on Craig Ross’ child support software in the aughts was a real user-friendly breakthrough for lawyers and lay persons alike.
We support Mr. Weichmann and the Wayne Friend of the Court in this endeavor. The Wayne FOC’s innovations make it easier for in pro per litigants to begin a simple case in the family court and they also make it easier for the judge assigned to the case to conclude it within the tight mandates of the Michigan Supreme Court [i.e. only six months in cases without minor children and a year for cases with children].
We here at Clarkston Legal believe that when it comes to your own divorce, there is no such thing as a little information being a dangerous thing. In the age of the Internet, we are proponents of bringing relevant legal information to the people, and in real time.
Do it yourself if you must. Meanwhile, lawyers always will be there to assist with the complexities of an unfamiliar and intimidating forum: the family court.
If you are facing a tough family law situation, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation to explore your options.