Many litigants choose to represent themselves in court proceedings, and not hire an attorney. While most lawyers would advise against this, some people continue to conduct their cases "pro se" - without the assistance of counsel. It has been suggested in a recent article, however, that parties involved in family law cases, where the fate of a child is involved, would best be served by hiring an attorney. To take this point one step further, parents contesting child custody and support cases are encouraged not only to hire a family law attorney to protect their rights, but also to consult with an experienced practitioner with full knowledge of the local San Diego court procedures and requirements.
In a recent case, the California court of appeals denied the father's appeal of the lower court's order, pointing out that appellant failed to provide a compete record of the three-day hearing, and did not identify any legal error on the appellate record. The father was not represented by counsel and appeared in "propria persona" or for oneself (aka: pro se). Here, the couple married in 1991, had two daughters in 1998 and 2000. In 2004, the wife filed for divorce and the marriage was dissolved in December 2006. The court awarded the parents joint legal custody, and the mom received primary physical custody with an allocated time-sharing arrangement. The father was ordered to pay $2,000 per month in child support. There were other provisions in the support order identifying the sharing of certain additional expenses.
In 2009, the couple agreed to temporarily grant the mother sole legal custody, allowing the father to have limited supervised visits due to his pornography addiction (for which he agreed to seek treatment). In 2010, the couple entered into another stipulation acknowledging the father's progress in treatment and restoring the joint legal custody but affording the mother the authority to make all of the decisions concerning the children's health, education, activities and overall well being. The stated goal under the second stipulation was to eventually fully reinstate the original December 2006 order and judgment.