Going through a divorce is stressful for all parties. When one or both parties can’t afford the cost of divorce lawyers, it’s even more stressful. It’s unfortunate that the times when you need a lawyer the most are often the times that you’re least equipped to pay for it.
Fortunately, you aren’t alone in your circumstances. There are several organizations who are exist to provide legal aid to people who cannot afford it. If you reach out to right places, you may be able to find a low cost divorce attorney that you can afford who will help you through the stressful circumstances of divorce.
There are federally funded programs that provide free or low cost legal aid for civil cases to people without the means to pay for a lawyer. If your income is within the predetermined range, you might be able to use such a program to obtain a low cost divorce attorney within your budget. Many of these programs are also designed to help clients get in touch with resources to get them back on their feet, such as shelters for victims of domestic violence, and vocational training. You should be able to locate a program like this on your local government’s websites.
Pro Bono Legal Aid
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get pro bono legal aid through the bar association in your area. There are lawyers who donate their time to special cases, such as people getting out of abusive marriages, disabled people, or low income people. If you contact your local bar association, you will be directed to a pro bono service who can help you, if you qualify.
Group Legal Sessions
If you are filing an uncontested divorce without custody or alimony, you may be able to file the divorce papers yourself with the help of a legal adviser. Some lawyers host group sessions in which they’re available to assist people in filing their own legal documents. However, this might not help if discussing your private legal predicament in a group setting makes you uncomfortable.
Like the group legal sessions, if the circumstances of your divorce are simple enough that you do not in-depth legal assistance, your courthouse might have facilitation services that will guide you through the paperwork. If you are not sure whether or not you will require a divorce attorney, this might be a good place to start. You can always go to a lawyer if it becomes evident that you need one.
Low Cost Legal Assistance
If you don’t qualify for any of the income-based programs, you still might be able to obtain a low cost divorce attorney through a low cost legal service. There are legal programs that will provide legal advice over the phone and represent you in court if necessary that charge varied prices based on what you’re able to pay. You can locate such a program by searching “low cost legal aid” and your city name online.
Do you have any advice for people who need a lawyer but cannot afford one? Please share your input in the comment section below.