Can an Out of State Lawyer Represent Me in a Child Support Case?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

Question: I live in Texas but I have a child support case in Michigan. Is there any possibility that a Texas lawyer can defend me in Michigan courts?

Answer: In order to practice law in a particular state, an attorney must be licensed to practice law *in* that state. So your Texas lawyer would also need to be a Michigan lawyer. It is not all that unusual for an attorney to be licensed in more than one state, although we have never met an attorney who is licensed in both of those two particular states. (That doesn’t mean that none exist, only that we have never met one.)

There is one exception to that rule: an out-of-state lawyer can file a special request to be allowed to represent someone in a case in a state in which they are not licensed in an action known as “pro hoc vice” (pronounced “pro hock veechay”), or “pro hoc” for short. If a court grants a pro hoc request, it is like a one-time pass for an out-of-state attorney to represent someone in their court.

That said, however, the granting of a pro hoc request is no sure thing, and more to the point, it is much better – and likely less expensive – to have someone who is familiar with the laws and local rules of the local court representing your interests to the court. All of which points to: you should probably get an attorney in Michigan to represent you in Michigan.