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If I have a Power of Attorney from my wife, can I represent her in court if she is Pro Se on a civil suit to collect a debt.

Fairfield, CT |

Basically, will a Judge allow me to speak in her defense in open court.

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Attorney answers 4


A power of attorney does not give you the authority to represent another person in court. That does not necessarily mean that the judge will not let you speak for your wife. Whether the judge does will depend in part on the particular judge and in part on what you will say. I doubt if a judge will let you argue the law but you might be able to talk about the facts. This assumes that your wife is present. I doubt if any judge will let you speak "in [your wife's] defense" if she is not present.


Absolutely not ! ! The words "pro se" mean "for himself." You can speak for yourself in court, but not for anyone else. A power of attorney does not give you the right to represent someone in court unless you are admitted to the bar.

Jeffrey L. Crown
Trustlawyer, LLC
21 New Britain Avenue
Rocky Hill, CT 06067 860-257-4330


My prior response assumes that you disclose to the judge that you are not a party to dispute but the spouse of a pro se party. In other words, you need to tell the judge who you are and why you want to speak, even if your wife is present. You are asking for trouble if you do not fully disclose that you are not a lawyer but the spouse of a pro se party. As I said, some judges are more lenient in this situation than others.


Mr. Crown is correct. A power of attorney might authorize you to hire an attorney to represent your wife, but it cannot authorize you to "represent" her. In most states only an attorney can represent someone else.



You really need to look at your state laws. In Washington, RCW 4.08.040 allows any spouse or domestic partner to "join, defend" in civil actions

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