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More tips: Managing a legal bully (#8)

8. Know your rights if he is self-represented

If your ex-partner is representing himself and you don’t have a lawyer, you will have to manage things very carefully. He may try to convince you that you have to see him to exchange court documents and that you have to talk to him to discuss your case. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

You can, and should, use a third party to deliver court documents to your ex-partner. This could be a friend or family member, if they feel confident about dealing with your ex-partner and will behave professionally. This person needs to understand the importance of your privacy, so you can rely on them not to give away information about your whereabouts or legal plan. This person should have a safety plan and should stay in touch with someone else while they are serving your ex-partner.

If you can afford it, you can hire a professional process server to serve your documents on your ex-partner.

Your ex-partner does not have to know where you live to serve you with his court documents. These can list another address as long as it is somewhere he can deliver the documents: your workplace, if that is safe for you, or a friend or family member’s home or work address.

If your ex-partner is representing himself, you should check in with the staff at the court filing office regularly to be sure that you have been served with complete documentation.

If you have to have conversations outside court with your ex-partner, insist that they happen by email or by telephone so you don’t have to deal with him in person. Try never to meet with him in person by yourself.

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