Florida Pro Se

Solve Your Legal Disputes Yourself - Pro Se

FALDP

People usually choose to fight their own legal battles, without an attorney, to save money. Reliable legal information is the front door key to the legal system. Access to the legal system protects your rights.

Americans are increasingly choosing to fight their own legal battles instead of hiring an attorney. It is the right of all U.S. citizens to represent themselves in court, as pro se litigants. Keep in mind, however, there are some situations where nothing will do, but to hire an attorney.

When Not To Be a Florida Pro Se Litigant

For example, if your legal issues are multi-faceted, overlapping and intricate; or the legal issues are unclear; or your personal freedom is at risk; or large amounts of money are at stake; or you need the credibility clout that only an attorney can offer -- then hiring an attorney is probably your best path.

However, there are disputes that arise that may call for a legal solution, but may not warrant legal advice. If you know your legal rights; know what you need to do; and the issues are not intricate, fuzzy, or high risk; then handling your legal claim yourself as a Florida pro se litigant may be the best choice.

Florida Pro Se and Civil Disputes

Suppose you are having a dispute with your next door neighbor about his 100 year old oak tree. Suppose the branches of his oak tree are hanging over your house and he refuses to cut it back. You know that your neighbor prizes his oak tree because he always uses it as a backdrop for his family Christmas card pictures, so you are reluctant to trim the overhanging branches yourself.

You have tried writing letters to your neighbor to ask him to please cut it back, but received no response. Nowadays you and your neighbor have stopped speaking, only exchanging glares across the yards.

So what do you do? Nothing? Should you cut the branches off yourself? Hire a tree surgeon to cut it back and send your neighbor the bill? Live with it? Do I solve this as a Florida pro se litigant?

Suppose one of those big tree branches falls on your house, damaging your roof, what then? Should you sue him? Should you collect from your insurance company and let the insurance company sue him?

Florida Pro Se and Family Law

As a completely different scenario, suppose your wife or husband has left you and disappeared. You have heard rumors that he/she has gone on tour with an unknown heavy metal band. Now a year later, you want to move on with life, and get a divorce.

What do you do? You have no idea where to serve your ex with divorce papers. Can you complete a divorce without your ex’s participation? Do I solve this as a Florida pro se litigant?

In either of these two scenarios many reasonably intelligent and educated adults might be able to handle the legalities themselves, pro se.

Substantive Law

The first step is to find out what the laws are surrounding each issue (substantive law). Substantive law might come from codified laws such as state Statutes or from case law (precedent).

Procedural Law

The second step is to find out what the civil processes and procedures are (procedural law). Procedural law includes specific rules about notifications to the other party; time periods for responses and filings; and acceptable written language and formats for court pleadings.

Substantive and procedural laws may vary widely state to state on many issues. Procedural laws may also vary within states between circuits or jurisdictions. So, when researching laws it is important to make sure that you look for the laws specific to your state, circuit, and jurisdiction.

Florida Pro Se and the Internet

The internet has opened access to all types of legal information. Federal and state statutes, local ordinances and case law can all be found online, if you know where to look.

Once you locate the legal information and decide to go forward on your own, the real work begins. Locating the correct legal document forms and formats; then filing them correctly can be a confusing and daunting task.

Florida Pro Se and Court Resources

In many jurisdictions court clerks are prohibited from offering any help to pro se litigants, since their help might be considered legal advice.

Court clerks often refer pro se litigants with questions to the law library; or, sometimes, to the Pro Se Coordinator, working in the courthouse; the individual whose job it is to help people bring their pro se disputes to court.

Either of these services can be invaluable depending on the courthouse and jurisdiction. A good Pro Se Coordinator can look over your documents and make sure that they are in the correct format for the style of case; advise you about timelines; and guide you in collecting evidence to prove your claim.

Law library clerks can help you find forms; case law; and navigate legal databases. However, not all courthouses have a Pro Se Coordinator. Also, some law libraries are incomplete and do not employ helpful law clerks to help you find information.

Certainly, there are times and situations where only an attorney can solve your legal problem, other times you can litigate your dispute, on your own, at far less cost.

Government run Legal Aid programs are helpful as far as they go, but you generally must be indigent or near-indigent to qualify for their help.

Legal Document Preparers

Luckily, there are businesses and entrepreneurs - legal document preparers and independent paralegals - that help people with routine legal matters and document preparation. These businesses and entrepreneurs fill a need in the middle ground - assisting people who are unable or unwilling to pay steep attorney’s fees, but also need some guidance about completing legal forms, and finding information.

Legal document preparers, also called legal technicians, may assist people in completing legal forms; and offer information about how to file. No one except an attorney may offer legal advice. And, with some exceptions, no one but an attorney can represent another person in court.

Paralegals and Nonlawyers

Florida prohibits anyone except for a nonlawyer working under the supervision of an attorney describing himself as a paralegal, or a legal assistant. See our article entitled Florida Paralegal v. Nonlawyer for more information and a good laugh.

Should I Go Pro Se?

Before you make the final decision to represent yourself in your legal dispute, ask yourself a few questions:
  • Are you attentive to detail?
  • Are you organized?
  • Do you have a good command of English?
  • Are you cool under pressure?
If you answered "yes" to all of the above questions, you may be a good candidate to handle your legal dispute pro se.

So, if you feel you are up to the challenge, take responsibility for solving your own legal dispute.

Do your research; file your papers. Have your day in court.

Document Preparation Assistance

If you need some help we have ideas. First we can help by helping you with document preparation. If you would like us to put you in touch with a Florida Legal Document Preparer who can help, please visit our document preparation service and write us a summary of your needs. Or if you're a do it yourselfer you may want to visit our Online Bookstore.

Titles include:

  • Florida Family Adoptions - Stepparents, Close Relatives
  • Modifying Florida Child Support - Step by Step instructions
  • The Florida Child Support Petition Answer Book - How to answer the initial petition for child support.
  • You've Been Sued - How to prepare an answer to a civil law suit.

    Or you can ask your question on this page. Remember we are not attorneys and do not provide legal advice. We post your question as soon as we can. Anyone who knows the answer is invited to post an answer. We only ask that, if you answer, you include your source of information if possible.

    How Can We Serve You?

    Do you have a question, looking for information, or just want a local Legal Document Preparer Professional to help you with your legal document needs?

    Ask your question. Let us know what you are looking for, give as many relevant details as you can, and remember to leave your contact information.

    As legal document preparers, we are prohibited from giving legal advice, and so we only provide general information. We never mean to suggest to you what you should or should not do, except that we might suggest you continue your research or seek the advice or an attorney.

    Enter a Title (the nature of your question).

    What Other Visitors Have Said

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

    Medical Malpractice complaint form 
    Without having to go through an attorney, do you know of a "complaint form" I can fill out to report the doctors and Florida hospital that caused my mother's …

    Waiting for response after filing answer to modification of support. 
    What happens after I file my answer to request for modification of child support?

    Change of venue for Florida trust 
    I want to change the current venue of a trust in which my father left me the benif. From Lee County Fl to Marion County, Fl, I live in Marion County and …

    Florida Guardianship Actions 
    Can a Petitioner appear pro se in a Guardianship action in Florida probate court?

    Pro Se Filing of Appearance  
    I am involved in a civil suit as a defendant where I was represented by counsel but have been reduced to self defense per the financial drain of the case. …

    Document preparation for motion to dismiss civil lawsuit in Broward County 
    I am preparing a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed in Broward County that has jurisdictional issues but also other issues that should easily result …

    out of state participation 
    If I have not received a subpoena but a notice of hearing only, may I ask for a phone hearing if I live 750 miles away if the hearing is on a motion of …

    Sue DCF for Libel 
    pro se DCF put false information about me in more than one report (said I had a brain disease and had several felony arrests) which is libel and committed …

    pro se subpoena 
    I filed a motion for subpoena duces tecum for third party production without deposition in the circuit court of Florida and the "judge" denied the motion …

    Neighbor Disputes - Questions 
    Where can I find Florida law regarding my neighbors destruction of my tree. My neighbor has cut my tree that is right at the property line. He cut the …

    Civil Procedure and Forms - Questions 
    I need to petition the court to keep the current judge of over 2 years in a child custody/parenting plan case. I want to stop the change of venue as it …

    Real Estate - Questions 
    Are there free legal services for foreclosure? I was served with a Lis Pendens over the holidays. I remember reading something about mandatory mediation. …

    Landlord/Tenant, Eviction - Questions 
    Where do I get a form for an answer to residential eviction in Duval county Florida? Where can I download an answer to residential eviction form in Duval …

    General Civil - Questions 
    I am having a hard time getting an corroborating expert opinion from a medical doctor, because he will not sign an Affidavit from me because it is not …

    Click here to write your own.


    Contact Us Want More Information?

    Have a question or need help with a legal document preparation?
    Contact us, we are here to help.


    Back to Top

    Back to FALDP Homepage from Florida Pro Se

    Find a Legal Document Professional Near You


  • Resources

    Have a question about the forms or how to file them? Do you need assistance? We can help. Call
    800-515-0496.

    Document PreparationServices


    Are you a Florida Legal Document Preparer? Learn how you can become part of Florida's thriving legal document preparers community.Call 800-515-0496 or 941-237-0951

    Join Today

    Search For a Legal Document Preparer By County
    FALDP Directory
    Alachua County
    Baker County
    Bay County
    Bradford County
    Brevard County
    Broward County
    Calhoun County
    Charlotte County
    Citrus County
    Clay County
    Collier County
    Columbia County
    Miami-Dade County
    De Soto County
    Dixie County
    Duval County
    Escambia County
    Flagler County
    Franklin County
    Gadsden County
    Gilchrist County
    Glades County
    Gulf County
    Hamilton County
    Hardee County
    Hendry County
    Hernando County
    Highlands County
    Hillsborough County
    Holmes County
    Indian River County
    Jackson County
    Jefferson County
    Lake County
    Lee County
    Leon County
    Levy County
    Liberty County
    Madison County
    Manatee County
    Marion County
    Martin County
    Monroe County
    Nassau County
    Okaloosa County
    Okeechobee County
    Orange County
    Osceloa County
    Palm Beach County
    Pasco County
    Pinellas County
    Polk County
    Putnam County
    St. Johns County
    St. Lucie County
    Santa Rosa County
    Sarasota County
    Seminole County
    Sumter County
    Suwannee County
    Taylor County
    Union County
    Volusia County
    Wakulla County
    Walton County
    Washington County


    Work From Home

    Work From Home With SBI!


    Visit Our Book Store

    Current Self Help Titles

    Modifying Child Support

    Family Adoptions

    Family Adoptions - Second Edition 2011

    You've Been Sued!