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Legal Information

Court System Basics

What does it mean to be a pro se litigant?

A pro se litigant, or self-represented litigant, is someone who does not have a lawyer to represent him/her in a court case. Some court cases are straightforward and you may be able to get through the process without a lawyer representing you. Small claims court, for example, is designed with simplified procedures and requirements so that you should be able to present your claim to the court without a lawyer. Other cases, though, are more complex and might require motions, discovery, or other legal procedures to get through them successfully. Divorce cases can fall into this category if there are children, property, assets, or other issues that need to be resolved. Because divorces can be complicated and involve important legal rights, it might be worthwhile to consult with a lawyer if you are thinking that you might file for divorce. You can find information about free and paid lawyers on our Finding a Lawyer page.