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March 2017: Update in the law

Non-represented Parties are Held to the Same Standard as Lawyers

Wilson v. Dodson, 1738-16-3, 2017 Va. App. LEXIS 70 (Va. App. 2017) (Unpublished)

If a party appeals a court order to the Court of Appeals without an attorney's assistance, that individual's appeal will be held to the same standards as an appeal filed by an attorney.

The mother was a pro se party: a party not represented by an attorney. The mother appealed the Circuit Court's decision to deviate from the child support guidelines based on her argument that the child support award does not meet the child's needs. The Court of Appeals refused to consider the Mother's assignments of error due to her failure to comply with Virginia Rule 5A:20(e), which requires the inclusion of the legal standard of review and arguments for each assignment of error, which must include the principles of law and legal authority. Pro se parties must comply with the rules of the court, just as attorneys are required to do.

Read the full case here.

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