When the Legal System Fails You
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Nothing can be more frustrating than when you feel that the judge or lawyer on your case is not performing their work properly. Sometimes you feel that the judge or lawyer isn’t paying enough attention to your case or is not considering domestic violence as a critical issue when deciding a protection order, custody or divorce case. It can also be frustrating when you cannot afford a lawyer but your local legal services organization has turned you down. Here are some ideas/ options to consider when you feel “the system” (judges and lawyers) has failed you.
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There are other ways in which you can help yourself, if you do not find help from a lawyer or an advocate in a domestic violence organization. Here are some ideas on how to proceed:
- Go to a law library at the courthouse. Many courthouses have libraries, which will have case law, statutes and secondary source materials. Materials can be provided in print as well as online formats. You may want to ask the clerk of the civil court if there is a library at your county court and if there is someone there that can help you find the information you are looking for.
- See if your courthouse has an office for the self-represented. These offices are designed to provide information and forms for people who are representing themselves in court. The information is intended to help you to help yourself through the court system. Sometimes there will be attorneys on staff to provide basic legal information. If you do not understand any of the information, or if you have trouble filling out any of the forms located there, you may want to consider seeing an attorney or an advocate at a domestic violence organization for help. Please, click Where to Find Help and select your state.
- Go online. Nolo.com http://www.nolo.com/ provides you with free legal information, law forms and do-it your-self legal kits and books for several types of legal cases. The legal kits and books teach you how to prepare your case and how to argue your case in court. Also on the Nolo.com website, you can search for a lawyer by legal issue or by state. (WomensLaw.org does not endorse the services of Nolo.com – we provide this information for your knowledge only).
- Sometimes legal aid organizations are very busy with other cases and they are forced to turn you down. Even if they say that they cannot represent you, consider asking them for consultation or for help in filling out court forms.
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