It is possible to self-represent in Family and Magistrates Court – and many men who lack the funds for legal help have no choice but to do this. But to achieve effective results this requires a huge amount of effort, careful reading, gathering evidence. This is extremely difficult if your son is also trying to hold down a job and deal with all the emotional stress of this legal battle.

One of the best source of help is the Mckenzie Friends website. See this link. Here is one example from their section on getting prepared:

“The first thing to do is contact family relationship centres and get parent “counselling”. Start a parenting course. Get the certificate. It’s also vital for properly preparing you for a Family Report. If you don’t speak the language family professionals use, and you don’t acquire some new, higher skills for this new situation, you can easily end up with a negative evaluation, resulting in limited supervised access instead of what could have been full shared parenting. Yes, the difference can be that great.”

And here is some of their advice about the dangers of seeking counselling during a family law battle:

Do not talk to psychologists, psychiatrists or a GP about your feelings. They can only help you if they give you a “diagnosis” as in mental illness diagnosis which will be recorded, which can and WILL be subpoenaed by your ex to prove you’re bat-shit crazy and dangerous and she needs sole parental responsibility, etc.”

The MOS mothers have not assessed the paid membership McKenzie Friends Club – a new feature designed to help men self-represent – but much of the free advice on the site makes a lot of sense. 

If you are not legally represented, talk to the Clerk of the Courts for an understanding of court procedures and try to attend court hearings to get a feel for what it is like to be in a court room. That will make it less daunting when it happens.