Pro se means that you are representing yourself in court, without a lawyer. Another term is self-represented litigant. If you represent yourself in a family matter, the court will ask you to attend a Pro Se Education Program. The program helps you understand court procedures and the forms you need to file with the court. Classes are free and open to the public.

Pro Se Education Program Attendance

If you represent yourself in a family matter, you will receive an order from the court requiring your attendance at a Pro Se Education Program. You will take part in this program before you pursue your case in court. Attendance is not required for hearings on relief from abuse. It is also not required for child support hearings.

The Pro Se Education Program helps you learn about the divorce and parentage process. It will educate you about your responsibilities during the court process. It will help you understand court procedures and what forms you need to fill out. You will also learn about services available to help with problems affecting families. Anyone may attend, whether or not they are a party to a case. Classes are free.

Most family divisions of the Vermont Superior Court offer a one-hour program each month. Other divisions offer them quarterly. A lawyer who practices in the family division conducts the program. The lawyer cannot talk to you about the specifics of your case. Instead, you will receive general information about the law and the process. See the schedule below for the county in which you filed your action.

Responsibilities While Representing Yourself
  • If you decide to represent yourself, you must file an appearance form: The form asks for your name, mailing and email addresses, and phone number. If you change your address or phone number, you must notify the court and the other party.
  • Whenever you send anything to the court, you must send a copy to your spouse or, if it is a parentage case, the other parent. If the other party has a lawyer, you must send the copy to the lawyer. Be sure to use your case docket number on anything you send to the court.
  • The court often requires both parties to provide financial information. If asked, you must provide complete financial information. You risk prosecution if you try to hide income or property.
  • The only time you may talk to the judge or magistrate is in a court hearing.
  • Do not interrupt the judge, the other party, or the other party's lawyer when they are speaking in court. You will get an opportunity to speak when it is your turn. Behaving in a calm and courteous manner will help your case.
  • You must know the facts of your case and be able to present them to the judge or magistrate. You need to decide what is important to you and what you want the judge or magistrate to know. Do not waste your court time on matters that do not help the judge or magistrate to decide your case. Make sure your presentation is relevant and to the point.
  • If you are presenting exhibits at your hearing, you must bring copies for the court. You must also bring copies for the other party. You should always keep a copy for yourself.
  • Court staff cannot give you legal advice. The staff can only provide you with forms or give you information about the process.
Pro Se Education Class Schedules

Please check this site for court closing and delay information. Classes will not go forward if the court closes.

County Date Time
Addison 3rd Wednesday of every other month 10:00 AM
Bennington 3rd Friday of each month 3:00 PM
Caledonia 1st Tuesday of every other month 8:15 AM
Chittenden Call court at 802-651-1709 for dates  
Essex Call court at 802-676-3910 for dates  
Franklin 1st Friday of each month 3:00 PM
Grand Isle Quarterly, call court at 802-372-8350 for dates  
Lamoille Quarterly, call court at 802-888-3887 for dates  
Orange 1st Friday of each month
* Note: The Friday, December 6 class has been canceled.
3:00 PM
Orleans 3rd Tuesday of each month 3:00 PM
Rutland 2nd Friday of each month, call court at 802-786-5856 to confirm 2:00 PM
Washington Call court at 802-479-4205 for dates  
Windham 3rd Tuesday of each month 12:00 PM
Windsor 2nd Friday of each month 1:30 PM