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Pro Se Child Support

Pro se is a legal term used to describe a party who is representing herself. You might also hear the terms self-represented, self-help, or Pro Per (not to be confused with proper). One of the rules for courts is that only attorneys can appear before judges. However, in America we have a constitutional right to access to the courts. This means that even if you don’t have an attorney, you can’t be stopped from representing yourself. Historically, this has been a common aspect of the judicial system – but lately we’ve really seen an increase in popularity.

Web sites like Legal Zoom have made it easier and easier for non-lawyers to access legal forms and get the language that Courts expect. It’s always been common for lawyers to trade “forms” between themselves and share the documents that they file in Court, but if you weren’t an attorney it could be very hard to get a template to even start from. But the internet has really changed that.

Litigants representing themselves is a major change that the court systems are learning to live with. In fact, the Montana Supreme Court has endorsed the phenomenon with gusto, creating a number of commissions and panels that exist solely to make the process as easy and reasonable as possible. They host a number of different forms on their website ( and over see the Montana Self Help Law Centers.

For anyone representing herself in a parenting case involving a child, one of the required documents is going to be a child support calculation. Unfortunately, forms don’t really help much with this because of the math and calculations involved. Lawyers have turned to computers to do this work for years, and now with – you can do the same thing. If you’re pro-se in a child support, child-custody, or divorce case involving children, this may be just the way to ensure you receive an appropriate and fair child support order.

Montanans tend to be smarter than average, and I think the trend of self representation is going to be around for a while. If you consider doing it, my best advice is to avail yourself of all the possible resources.

Montana Self Help Law Centers

Many people using our online child support calculator are doing it because they are representing themselves in a divorce, child custody, or child support matter in Court. For most people, going in to Court unrepresented is an intimidating and difficult thing. Luckily, Montana has the Self Help Law Program, with offices across the state.

It’s a free service provided by the Montana Supreme Court to help with civil legal problems. This means that they’re only involved in non-criminal matters. They exist to give you the information you need and help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. Hopefully, this help you resolve your legal problems on your own if you cannot afford an attorney or if you choose not to hire one. They can’t give you legal advice or represent you in court, but they will provide you with legal information and resources that will help you help yourself.

The Self Help Law Centers only deal with civil matters. Here’s the wikipedia page explaining what civil law is as opposed to criminal law. Most commonly, the centers help with family law matters (divorce, parenting disputes, guardianships, step-parent adoptions), Landlord-Tenant disputes (evictions, damage deposits, notices to repair, …), Order of Protection, Powers of Attorney, Emancipations, and civil suits. That last category (civil suits) is a pretty broad catch all that basically means they’ll try to help you with whatever comes up.

The process for people seeking self help generally goes something like this: 1) People make an appointment or go visit one of the centers; 2) at the appointment one of the staff discusses your situation and gives you forms that will apply; 3) you take the forms home and fill them out; and 4) you come back to the center so their staff can review the forms. It’s a great process, but it can take some time.

Many of our users are also involved with the Self Help Law Center. Unfortunately, the form for the child support calculation is the same one found on CSED’s website – and there’s no automation to it. So, if you’re looking to get a determination of numerous combinations of numbers, you may want to combine our product with the Self Help Law Center. Of course you can represent yourself without using the child support calculator, I’m just not sure why you’d want to.