Many people believe that lawyers are too expensive, or increase tension in Family Law cases. They may turn to alternative means of handling their Family Law matter, such as hiring someone claiming to be a paralegal or document preparer. It is not unusual for one spouse to suggest using a paralegal, hoping to gain an advantage. It is unlikely that anyone with a paralegal office is legally entitled to act in that capacity.

While there are certification procedures for paralegals in California, a paralegal must be an employee of a lawyer. They cannot maintain their own offices to perform legal work for the public. In addition, true paralegals are required to have continuing education just like lawyers. A lawyer may not charge you for legal work done by an employee who is not a certified paralegal or a lawyer.

If an unlicensed plumber works on your plumbing, you may end up with a leaking pipe, or massive damages from a poor joint that fails in the slab, wall, or attic of you house - or he may permanently damage expensive fixtures.

Someone practicing law without a license is doing the same thing, but the consequences could have unforeseen consequences and permanently affect your life and finances. If you cannot afford a lawyer, there are services available through the court to assist you in preparing the basic paperwork for your case. There are also books on doing the work yourself, some of which will alert you to most pitfalls of doing it yourself.

Preparing a Marital Settlement Agreement is a lot more complicated than filling in spaces in a form, or tailoring a form from another case. It involves legal judgments to avoid using inappropriate, contradictory, or ambiguous provisions. Because human nature is such that unanticipated situations will arise, even the best agreements may be hard to apply to an unusual set of facts - bad agreements simply increase the likelihood of future problems.

A person claiming to be a paralegal need have no education in law, and very little experience. Often they know little besides the basics, and none of the intricacies of a complicated practice like Family Law.