Many people need to get a divorce but cannot afford to pay a lawyer to help them through the process. Actually, there are ways to get a free divorce attorney. Here is an overview of how to obtain legal assistance without spending what it would ordinarily cost.
There are local and state agencies – both private and government – providing free legal advice and representation to those who qualify. Every state has a legal aid office set up for helping people who cannot afford to pay for legal services. This is the state’s way of making sure that even low-income people can have access to equal justice. Usually, this legal aid office will have attorneys with experience in domestic abuse cases, child custody cases and divorce cases.
Normally, people with disabilities and people over 60 qualify for legal aid. Victims of domestic violence and women with children who are being abused also qualify for legal aid. Apart from these individuals, people whose income falls below a certain annual amount also qualify for legal aid.
The first thing you need to do to get legal aid would be to look for state resources and try to access these. There are also nonprofits that offer free legal assistance or at least free legal advice. Under legal aid programs, clients with low or no income or those who meet other agency specific guidelines are given a free divorce attorney.
In addition to the legal aid offered by state and nonprofit programs, some legal firms actually have pro bono windows and they will accept divorce cases without charging anything. Pro bono publico (usually simply referred to as pro bono) or ‘for public good’ refers to lawyers who take on cases free of charge. These cases are the translation of the American Bar Association’s recommendation that lawyers render 50 hours of pro bono work per year. Some private firms doing pro bono work will have a criterion for taking on a case but others will be more liberal in this aspect. Sometimes outreach programs of churches and shelters will know of lawyers who will represent women and senior citizens free in their divorce cases.
If you are able to, explore the possibility of online divorce. Do some research on the topic and find out what help you need to go through it.
You might also want to look into a pro se waiver divorce. Pro se divorce litigation means you are going through the divorce proceedings without a regular lawyer because you can’t hire an attorney. For the court to allow this, the divorce should be uncontested and there should be no children involved. For a nominal fee, you can get an expert to represent you in a pro se waiver divorce. You would then just have to fill up the necessary forms and comply with the filing and processing requirements.
If you need legal help and but you do not have the money for a lawyer, look into legal aid in your area or seek out lawyers from the state bar association for attorneys who will do pro bono work. The search will take work and effort but if you need legal representation badly, this is something you must do.
It is possible to get a free divorce attorney or to incur only minimal costs in going through this painful process. Just remember that many people do line up for this service and you will probably have to wait quite a while before being attended to even if you are accepted s a nonpaying client. Therefore, if you have decided to go through a divorce and you know you cannot afford to pay for the services of a lawyer, do not waste any time. Take that first step now.