If you are going to be your own divorce lawyer in a Rhode Island divorce proceeding, then be prepared! You could be held to the same standards that as a Rhode Island attorney I am held to. I don't expect help from judges and if I were to goof up for a client then the blame falls on my head. If you goof up in your Rhode Island divore and you are Pro Se then the same goes for you. Don't expect to be able to blame anyone else.
So be prepared! Do tons of reading about Rhode Island divorces and Nominal Hearings and then take the time to sit in on at least a dozen of them and make a note of how both attorneys handle the hearings and how those people who are "Pro Se" handle their own divorce. If you haven't watched 6 sets of Pro Se couples act as their own lawyers then you haven't watched enough of them.
Note the questions that they ask that are consistent in each and every case. Particularly note any questions the family court judge's themselves ask either party because it is an indicator that a lawyer or Pro Se party has missed something the judge wants or usually needs to hear.
Your Nominal divorce hearing is crucial. Take this tip to heart! It is better to be prepared and get it right and get it right the first time! You may not have a second chance to get it right. If the judge happens to have a short fuse or a long calendar on your hearing date you may find yourself coming back.
If you ARE prepared, then make sure you say what you have planned to say. Even if the judge seems to want to gloss over things or hurry things along (and they may have their own valid reasons for doing so with regard to their court calendar) BUT it is your divorce and if you have something that needs to be said in order to protect your rights and interests and you let the judge steamroll right over you then it's nobody's fault but your own.
There are many ways to respectfully ask the court or even tell the court that what you have to say needs to be said (though not in that way) in order to get your statements on the record and either taken down by the court stenographer or the stenographic recorder in the courtroom.
Yes, court can be a scary thing at times, especially if you are not there day in and day out. Yet ultimately you don't have the option to be a wallflower when it comes to your divorce. These are your legal rights you are dealing with and if you do not speak up at the time of the hearing and you let the judge shut you down without at least making two attempts to say something important that must be on the record to protect your rights, then you won't have a second chance.
My Best to All those who go before the Rhode Island Family Courts,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."