Should you represent yourself in a contested divorce?
It is difficult to say yes or no. It really depends. Here are a few things to consider:
First of all, you are not a lawyer and you are not versed in the law. So you are bound to miss important issues and make mistakes that a seasoned practitioner probably would not make.
Second, the judge is less likely to take you seriously than he or she is to defer to your counsel.
Third, your spouse and his or her lawyer are bound to play games with you that they would not dare try if you have a lawyer.
Fourth, you are too close to the case emotionally and may not be able to keep your emotions in check at critical times during the proceedings (heck you may even cry when you are supposed to be a steel magnolia interrogating your spouse and needless to say this would be a disaster!)
Fifth, if there is a jury, they could make judgmental décisions based not just on how you look but also how you presented yourself and your case during the trial (especially dangerous for women)
Sixth, the court personnel and court procédures could also get the better of you. You could miss important deadlines or mess up on the “form” of certain documents which have to be filed resulting in not just delays but quit possibly the tossing of your case (in case of jurisdictional defects and things like that).
There are other dangers to be sure. It does not mean you cannot or should not represent yourself in court. Many non-lawyers have done so successfully. But it is to say that you need to be mindful that this could be a mine field and you really do need to be prudent.