Appearing in Family or Supreme Court, even with an attorney, can very intimidating for someone. I often wonder what it must feel like appearing as a pro-se litigant (without an attorney). Legal terminology are often thrown around and the whole hearing goes so fast, it is very likely to miss something or accidentally say the wrong thing and cause damage to your case.
What does “issue joined,” “jurisdiction complete,” and “18-B attorney” mean to a non-lawyer? I would imagine it must sound like a foreign language.
You can also make many mistakes when you appear in Court without an attorney. What if you agree to something that can ruin your entire case?
Also, the judges cannot give you legal advice! How do you know the decision you are making is the right choice? I have often been in Court listening to litigants spewing things on the record (yes, everything you say is recorded) and I cringe at the things they say. I often find myself saying to myself, “please stop ruining your case!”
It never hurts to at least consult with a lawyer or ask for an adjournment to get a lawyer. This is your life at stake here.