PAID: “But Judge… I didn’t know!”


The courtroom can be a pretty intimidating place. Often, parents representing themselves don’t know where to stand, what to say, or may not even understand what’s actually going on.

Given the complexity of the law and court procedure, certainly non-lawyers representing themselves are held to a lesser standard, right?

Well, actually, no. Self-represented parents are expected to know how to handle their case, just like a lawyer would.

The courts have created sets of forms and instructions parents facing a divorce or custody case can use for free. These forms can be found at county superior court websites under what is often called the “Self Service Center.”

While the forms are helpful and a useful resource, in my experience, parents often struggle to understand the forms and frequently fill the forms out incorrectly.

Recently a mother seeking custody of her young daughter came to see me. She had started her case representing herself and didn’t feel like she was getting anywhere. When I looked back at the papers she’d filed with the court on her own, I found that, although she had used the court’s standard forms, she had used the incorrect one and had not made the requests to the court she truly wanted to make.

Around that same time, a father came to see me, a father who was fighting to simply spend time with his son. Getting favorable custody orders that guaranteed him regular parenting time was key, yet in review of the papers he’d filed on his own with the court, I found that he hadn’t actually made the requests he wanted to make and, instead, had put forth somewhat confusing requests and positions.

For both of these parents, the outcome of their cases had a huge impact on their lives – these decisions determined how much time they each would get to spend with their kids. Although the court forms were better than nothing, neither of these parents understood how to use the forms or how to make the proper requests to achieve successful outcomes with their cases.

Are you considering using the court forms for a divorce or child custody case? Have you already started your case using the forms, but feel confused and lack confidence with your case?

You don’t have to be completely alone in this challenging and unfamiliar court process. You can obtain free legal information designed to help you with your divorce or custody case.

Interested? If so, you’re invited to join me, Arizona lawyer Julie LaBenz, for a free online training where I’ll share my “6 Step System to an Arizona DIY Divorce & Child Custody Case Solution.”

I’ve designed this system in an effort to simplify the divorce and child custody court process for parents that can’t afford or don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an attorney.

Instead of saying, “But Judge, I didn’t know …,” CLICK HERE to discover the 6 Step System to a Divorce & Child Custody Case Solution and empower yourself with legal information you can actually use!

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Arizona Lawyer Julie LaBenz, partner at Churchill & LaBenz in Parker, AZ, helps her clients with a variety of matters including, divorce, child custody, probate, estate planning, criminal defense, evictions, and more. Visit or for more information or call her office at (928) 669-6195 to schedule an appointment.

Also, to learn about Julie’s Basic Estate Planning Protection Package, a simple and affordable way to finally get your basic estate planning protections in place, CLICK HERE.

Disclaimer: 1) by reading this article Arizona lawyer Julie LaBenz does not become your attorney; 2) this article contains legal information only and is not legal advice; 3) Arizona lawyer Julie LaBenz is licensed to practice law in the state of Arizona in the jurisdictions in which she is admitted to practice.


  1. Süd Schiller

    Courtroom is only intimidating to people who haven’t realized the system wasn’t created at all to favor them in the first place. LEO, Judge, DA is just the start of rampant corruption. These people work together to make everybody’s life hell. Learn how to play the system. Get together with your community and rid these animals from their power. Always; always remember shoot first ask questions later!

  2. Or, we can learn about Jury Nullification. It’s the only thing that will restore our lost liberties. It’s up to you to decide if a law is just, not a lawyer or a judge.

    Not to take away from what you are doing Julie. Having a fully informed jury pool is for the rest of us who are stuck in a failed system that starts with LEO’s enforcing any old garbage law and ends with “All Rise”

  3. Candi Evans

    Stupid people end up in court. Don’t be stupid and don’t end up in court!!!!!!!!

  4. Candi Evans

    People’s lives wouldn’t be “hell” if they wouldn’t do stupid shit to end up in court in the first place.

  5. Yes Candi,

    You are very intelligent. Only stupid people end up in Court. Remember that the next time you are there.

  6. I am genuinely delighted to read this blog posts which contains plenty of helpful information, thanks for providing such statistics.

  7. Thank you Julie for your generous advice on this column. I can speak from experience. Julie represented my son in his divorce and child custody case. She did an amazing job. She was able to get my son everything he asked for.

    Not only stupid people end up in court. Stupid people make stupid comments.

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