When you are served with foreclosure documents it can be devastating. Given the current situation, you are faced with the possibility of losing your home during, what appears to be, a never-ending COVID-19 pandemic.
This foreclosure also didn't take place because you have tons of disposable income laying around. So now you have to decide how you are going to save your home. The idea of hiring an attorney in the wake of being served with foreclosure documents seems impossible: if you didn't even have enough money to pay your mortgage, how can you think about hiring a lawyer? So now you're considering representing yourself in court to save your house and to save the attorneys' fees.
Is it really a good idea to proceed pro se?
Take it from Judge Posner from the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals who says, “I was not getting along with the other judges because I was (and am) very concerned about how the court treats pro se litigants, who I believe deserve a better shake.” What exactly does Judge Posner mean by a better shake? After all, it's your Constitutional right to represent yourself in court.
The courts impose several limitations on pro se litigants, as they can create frustration and confusion for their opposing party. For instance, you must know that as a pro se litigant, you are held to the same standards as a legal professional and can be subject to sanctions. There is also the stigma that judges prefer to deal with attorneys because they are better versed in civil procedure. Another aspect of a lawsuit that needs to be considered is your emotions. If you hire an attorney to represent you in foreclosure litigation, an attorney will be able to represent you passionately while also maintaining courtroom etiquette and following the judge's procedures. On the other hand, if you represent your own home where you have raised your kids, held birthday parties, even gotten married in, you may not be able to hold it together when the judge asks you why you deserve to keep your house. Outbursts in the courtroom, whatever the cause, are frowned upon by judges and can even result in sanctions. You also don't want to be in a position where, because of your emotions over losing your home, you agree to unfavorable terms and conditions, and you don't know the legal defenses that will help you. Telling the judge that this is the house you bought with your deceased wife is heartfelt, but not a legal basis to stop a foreclosure.
Hiring an attorney can be expensive, but many foreclosure attorneys charge very reasonable fees. You should think about it as an investment that gives back to you every night that you get to fall asleep in your home that you almost lost.
Free Legal Services
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are legal aid services that, once you can demonstrate financial need, they will actually represent your foreclosure case for free. In the case that you do not qualify for free legal help, or they can only serve you by providing templates for court documents that you can fill out on your own, certainly consider investing in the future of your home and hiring an attorney.
To see if you qualify for free legal representation click below: