Pro per clients can represent themselves in court proceedings without an attorney present. Pro se is Latin meaning “for self.” Pro se litigants are individuals who represent themselves rather than being represented by lawyers. In most states, individuals and lawyers file forms in court called “appearances.” The appearance forms advise the court who will be representing the parties so the court can communicate with the individuals or their representatives. Lawyers cannot appear in court or sign court documents on behalf of clients unless an appearance form has been filed.
In the Collaborative Practice model, the parties file pro per appearance forms and their individual lawyer assists them with the paperwork and filing. This facilitates an essential term of the Collaborative Divorce; namely, adversarial lawyers will replace the Collaborative lawyers if the Collaborative Process cannot achieve resolution. The adversarial lawyers will then file their appearances in court and proceed to litigate the case.