I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN THIS FAMILY COURT: I am one of the 75% in Maine Family Courts who are forced by finances to represent themselves as litigants. This percentage in 2015 was approximately 17,065 Maine citizens forced to go into family court without a lawyer. Of these 17,065 ‘pro se’ litigants, 85% of this group (14,505) must argue their case against a seasoned lawyer. It is an obviously uneven, unfair match.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I lack the legal knowledge, skill or experience to litigate against an educated, experienced lawyer. Our credentials for this vitally important custody contest are grossly unequal.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I do not understand courtroom procedure and practices. I am at a disadvantage against professionals who do. I am a foreigner, who doesn’t understand the culture and practices of the legal profession.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am inept when it comes to the clerical details of filing court papers, their format, terminology, timing, etc. I make mistakes in these matters, because these activities are unfamiliar to me. I am a “bother” to courthouse officials, because I take more time and need special instruction in clerical requirements
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am frightened to be forced into a ‘zero sum game’, winner take all “contest” in which I have to legally “gamble” for parental rights to raise my child, based on my legal skill in a courtroom “contest”. I simply want to be a part of my child’s life and help him/her to grow up know his/her parent loves him/her.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I do not have the lawyerly skills to play the “money game”, and I am easily trapped by a lawyer who does. My experienced lawyer opponents can use legal gamesmanship unknown to me that allow a courtroom “financial shakedown” on me for money I don’t have. I lack the lawyerly skills to deal with this trap.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am charged with being “in contempt” for non-payment of money I don’t have, and I have been unable to get a hearing to asses my finances.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I have been threatened with jail without being warned about alternatives, or being afforded an attorney (according to constitutional law) to defend me or seeking a lesser form of action.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am treated as a criminal abuser with no evidence and with no method of seeking exoneration. Every motion I file costs me money for my defense and may lead to me having to pay the fees of my opponent’s. It gets worse and worse. Trying to straighten this out is bankrupting me and not resolving the issue.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: Even though I have learned a few things about courts and the law from my experiences in court, I will always be outmatched by a trained lawyer.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am not a social friend of this judge. I didn’t go to USM law school with this judge. I don’t work with this judge regularly in court on other cases. I don’t attend bar/bench functions in this community I don’t “vet” this judge for reappointment as do members of the local bar. Unlike members of the bar, I can’t influence this judge’s re-appointment. I am an alien to the legal culture and legal friendships that are enforced by sharing a common culture and frequent contacts.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I ask myself, why do we have to spend vast amounts of money (which I don’t have) to end a marriage in court when many other countries have an easier way? The only people who benefit from American-style divorce are the legal profession.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: Why does my “ex’s” lawyer act in ways that aim to exclude me as a parent in my child’s upbringing? Doesn’t my child need two active parents? Why are there no plans for full reconciliation?
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN FAMILY COURT: I am forced to play a fake role as a litigant in a charade that pretends we are in a court of law. But I am not a lawyer. I am not a member of the legal guild. I am unfamiliar with the rules of the game. My utter dysfunction in my assigned role gives lie to calling this a court of law.
I AM ‘PRO SE’ IN THIS COURT: Please give me access to justice and end this brutal nightmare.
MeGAL has been working for court change as the system for Family Court is badly broken. If you have been abused or seen others abused by this system we would encourage you to contact your Representative and educate him/ her. You may also contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com or on Facebook.