Workshop Participant Information
Divorce can be stressful.
You can help us make the process better and earn a $150 gift card.
Two Upcoming Workshops:
Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, April 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Register online or call us toll-free at 1-833-663-6177 to register and receive a $5 gift card just for signing up. Due to space limitations, not everyone who registers will be selected to participate. But everyone who participates will receive a $150 gift card (Amazon or Visa) on the day of the workshop.
The Issue: Going Through Divorce Without a Lawyer
The divorce process was created for people who have a lawyer, but these days, many people cannot afford to hire one. Large numbers of people are choosing to represent themselves in court, without an attorney.
We understand that divorce is a hard process. And it is even harder when you don’t have a lawyer to help you. Court rules and procedures can be confusing.
IAALS created the Court Compass project to help simplify the divorce process.
The Opportunity: Help Us Change the System
We are conducting team-based workshops to give people who have gone through the divorce process in our workshop states (MA and IA) an opportunity to share their experiences with the legal process and their ideas about how the system could be made better. We will then use this feedback and the ideas we receive at the workshops to help courts simplify and improve current processes.
We currently have two workshops scheduled:
- Des Moines area on Saturday, April 21, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
- Boston area on Saturday, May 5, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
A specific location will be announced to those selected to participate.
For more information on the Court Compass project, you may want to read one or more of our research reports and other similar studies related to improving the civil justice system for people who represent themselves in court.
Frequently Asked Questions
Court Compass is a project created by IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver. The purpose is to understand the experiences of individuals going through the divorce process without the assistance of a lawyer for some or all of their case, with the goal of making the process simpler and easier for others.
If you have questions about Court Compass, please review the frequently asked questions below. Feel free to email (CourtCompass@du.edu) or call us directly (toll free, 1-833-663-6177) with questions.
- What is IAALS?
- Am I automatically included in the Court Compass workshop if I register for it?
- Who can participate in Court Compass?
- I had a lawyer for some parts of my case, but not for the whole thing. Am I still considered a self-represented litigant?
- I was represented by a lawyer in my case from start to finish. Can I participate in the workshop?
- How are the courts involved in Court Compass?
- Is Court Compass a research project?
- How do I participate in the workshop?
- Why should I participate?
- What does participation entail?
- Will the workshops be recorded?
- Will I be paid to participate?
- How long will the workshop take?
- What is IAALS going to do with the information that comes out of the workshop?
- How is IAALS going to protect my personal information?
- Will Court Compass identify me personally?
- Can you help with my current case?
- There isn’t a workshop in my area. Can I still provide my input?
- I still have questions. Who should I talk to?
IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is a national, independent research center at the University of Denver dedicated to improving the civil justice system for all Americans.
While we will do our best to include everyone who registers, due to space restrictions, it is possible that some people who register may not be selected to participate. Only those who participate in the workshop will receive the $150 gift card. However, the $5 Target or Starbucks gift card is yours to keep just for taking the time to register. We will review registration information for each person and inform you if you have been selected to participate
In order to participate in a Court Compass workshop, you must:
- Be 18 years old or older;
- Consent to be photographed as well as video and audio recorded throughout the day;
- Have gone through a divorce in the past five years in the state in which the workshop is being held; and
- Have represented yourself without an attorney for at least part of your divorce.
Aside from these basic requirements, we will also be looking for a diverse group of people to serve as team members, so we can get as complete a view as possible about what the process has been like for a variety of people.
Yes, for purposes of Court Compass you are considered a self-represented party if you represented yourself for at least some parts of your case, even if you had a lawyer for other parts.
No. The Court Compass workshop is only for self-represented parties -- people who have represented themselves for some or all of their divorce case.
We are working closely with key members of the court system in each of our participating jurisdictions.
A statement from the Iowa Judicial Branch: The mission of the Iowa Judicial Branch includes the goal of assuring all Iowans have equal access to justice. To this end, the Iowa Judicial Branch has partnered with IAALS as part of the Court Compass program to identify barriers to court services that self-represented litigants face and to develop effective methods to overcome these barriers.
Yes. Court Compass is a research project involving researchers at the University of Denver, Northeastern University, and Stanford University.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the research prior to, during, or after the workshop. For more information about the research, please contact Logan Cornett, IAALS Senior Research Analyst (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To get started, please complete an online registration form or call toll-free 1-833-663-6177 to complete your registration with a member of our team over the phone. You may also email us at CourtCompass@du.edu to initiate the registration process. We will send you a link to your $5 gift card from your choice of Target or Starbucks within one business day after you complete your registration.
The people who have been through the process as self-represented litigants have valuable insight into where problems exist and ways to make the process simpler. The Court Compass workshops are designed to allow self-represented litigants to have a part in making improvements to the system.
If selected, you will be part of a team that will work together to discuss what does and doesn’t work well in the divorce process and come up with ideas to fix the system.
Yes. All workshops will be video and audio recorded, and we will be taking photographs throughout the day. We may use the recordings in future publications and presentations, upload them to the IAALS website, or present them in other media.
If selected to participate, you will receive a $150 gift card on the day of the workshop. Participants will be able to choose between an Amazon gift card and a Visa card.
The workshop will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
We are working directly with the courts in the areas where we are holding the workshops. So, the ideas that each team comes up with during the workshop will be shared with the courts and used to simplify and improve the current divorce system.
Your name and personal information will be kept in a secure location accessible only to members of the Court Compass team.
No. The information you provide will be kept strictly confidential.
We cannot give you any legal advice. If you are currently representing yourself, your local courts or organizations in the community may have resources to help.
Yes! Please call toll-free 1-833-663-6177 to speak directly with a member of our team or email us at CourtCompass@du.edu.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to call our toll-free number at 1-833-663-6177 or email us at CourtCompass@du.edu.