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representing yourself (pro se)

Pro se (pro-say) means to argue on one’s own behalf in a court or other legal proceeding—also referred to as representing yourself in court or self-representation. A person can appear pro se in a civil or criminal case, but only a licensed lawyer can appear in court on behalf of a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other legal entity.

Parties often represent themselves (without a lawyer) in divorce proceedings and in actions seeking to modify child custody, child support, and spousal support. Because of the sometimes complex and procedure-oriented nature of these legal proceedings, persons considering representing themselves should consider hiring a lawyer on a limited-representation basis if possible to avoid losing important personal and property rights.

In Texas, 'pro se' representation refers to the practice of individuals representing themselves in legal proceedings without the assistance of an attorney. This is permissible in both civil and criminal cases for individuals. However, legal entities such as corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other organizations are required to be represented by a licensed attorney in court. Pro se representation is particularly common in family law matters, including divorce, child custody modifications, child support, and spousal support. While individuals have the right to represent themselves, Texas courts often advise considering at least limited legal representation due to the complex nature of legal procedures and the risk of losing significant rights. Limited representation allows individuals to hire attorneys for specific parts of their cases, which can provide legal guidance while controlling costs.

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