Pro Se Divorce and the Courts
Key Points
  • The Clerk is the one who facilitates a divorce through the court. He or she will often aid in the divorce filing process in regards to the procedure and what paperwork is filed and when, but he or she will not provide legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from a lawyer.
  • It is vital to remain on good terms with the Clerk. Getting on the wrong side of the Clerk will not help anyone, especially the pro se filer.

The clerk of the court is a public official who is responsible for keeping court records and procedures in order. His or her office handles filings, issue writs of garnishment, and answer questions about court procedure.

In most jurisdictions, a person filing for divorce pro se or a divorce lawyer files divorce paperwork with the clerk of the courts. The position has different names in different states and can often be referred to as a Court Assistant, District Clerk, Chancery Clerk.

The office of the clerk expedites the movement of a divorce through the formalities of the family or domestic relations court. In conjunction with the judge, the clerk sees that all paperwork filed in each case is prepared, organized, and presented properly for review.

The clerk will not answer any legal questions. The questions he or she may answer are typically limited to the filing procedure and proper competition of forms. While the court clerk or his or her assistants are not able to provide any type of legal advice, they can be very helpful. Some are limited to questions about court procedure, however, others are not even permitted to answer any questions at all. This will vary amongst different jurisdictions.

Depending on the court, clerks may very helpful to someone filing a pro se divorce because they will take the time to make sure necessary papers are properly completed and filed in the correct sequence. In short, the pro se filer should be courteous and civil when dealing with the clerks.

No matter what, the court clerk facilitates the movement of a divorce, so he or she is essentially control when in comes to filing the divorce paperwork. The last thing any divorce lawyer or pro se divorce filer wants to do is get on the wrong side of the court clerk.

In many courts and jurisdictions, the office of court clerk is the place where divorce actions, either filed by pro se or by a lawyer, begin.

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