“Can A Minor Or Mental Incapacitated Person Represent Themselves in Family Law Cases?”

Minors can represent themselves in family law court IF they are a party to a divorce or a paternity action. This is laid out in California Family Code Section 7635(b), although often minor’s prefer to have what is called a Guardian Ad Litem to appear for them in cases. A Guardian Ad Litem is a representative of the minor, and they are often used in cases where someone under the age of 18 has had a child and is going through custody proceedings. It can occur in divorce cases as well, but that tends to be pretty rare since underage marriage is no longer common.

Mental incapacity, for whatever reason, is a different issue. If a person is unable to assist with their case either because of a permanent or temporary disability, a Guardian Ad Litem will be appointed to handle the case on their behalf. This occurs most often in cases where a party to a divorce has a serious medical condition that gets worse, or Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other mental disability.

A Guardian Ad Litem MUST be represented by an attorney. You cannot be a self-represented Guardian Ad Litem. If you think either of the two scenarios described above fits your case, you should consult with a family law attorney immediately

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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