We’ve all been there, living on a tight budget until our next paycheck, however, if you found yourself in a situation where you cannot afford to hire a family law lawyer, you might have started feeling completely stressed and overwhelmed, mostly because you’ll be focused on what will happen with your entire case.
If so, you might be wondering – what can I do if I cannot afford an attorney at the moment? Well, there are some other options that you could choose, all of which will be highlighted in the article below. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some options that could assist you in obtaining a legal representative:
1. Look For a Pro-Bono Lawyer
If you ask several people out there, they’ll probably tell you that, if you cannot afford to pay for the services of an attorney, you could find someone that’ll do it pro-bono, which basically means that they would represent you without you having to pay them for their services. However, there are several issues with this option.
For starters, a lot of people working in this field – especially in family law – aren’t willing to work free of charge, and although you might find someone who is willing to do so, they won’t want to work on a divorce case since it’s complicated and time-consuming, instead, they might want to help you with some simple cases.
But, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least try finding someone who’ll work pro-bono, and you should start by calling the representative for the Legal Aid. Keep in mind, they do have limited resources, nonetheless, you could still try and see whether you can get a legal representative for your case.
Additionally, you might also want to try calling the bar association in your local area, mostly because they could tell you where you could find free or low-bono services. Some of them could even offer you consultations with attorneys that’ll help you throughout the entire process.
2. The Court Can Appoint One to You
If you’re in a situation where you cannot afford to pay a lawyer and if your divorce includes things such as custody, visitation, as well as an order of protection problems, you could choose to ask a judge to appoint a legal representative to you, without needing to pay for their services.
However, you should know, the attorney that you’ll get will only have to handle the things revolving around visitation and custody and you might have to represent yourself for every other step in your case like dividing your real estate. Keep in mind, there is an income limit, hence, you’ll need to provide a report of your earnings in order for the judge to assign an attorney to you.
3. Choose to Head to a Family Court
Now, if the only problem with your case is custody and alimony and if you cannot afford to pay a legal representative, the experts from MatrimonialHome recommend that you think about heading to a family court before you get involved with your divorce proceedings.
Why should you choose to do this? Well, it’s quite simple, it’ll be simpler and less daunting for you to represent yourself if you choose to go to a family court, and more importantly, once you get the alimony and custody orders, you’ll be capable of proceeding with your divorce.
4. You Could Ask For Counsel Expenses
In this situation, the judge might order your soon-to-be ex-partner to pay for the expenses you would have for a solicitor, however, this will only be applicable if your spouse has a steady income. Remember, you’ll need to make a motion for this to happen, and the other side can also provide arguments in order to argue why they shouldn’t pay for it.
Now, if it’s granted to you, the money will immediately be transferred to the lawyer. Additionally, you should know that it isn’t automatic, nor is it something that you could guarantee, hence, a lot of people will require you to cover the expenses of the motion before they head to court with you.
5. You Could Choose to Get Loa
If you sure that you’ll receive some form of payment once the proceedings are done – that could mean that, for example, you and the other side agree to sell your residence and split the money – you might want to choose to secure a loan. This is suitable if you have substantial assets that you cannot use during the case.
Keep in mind, there is a wide range of options out there, hence, before you actually choose a specific one, you should do some digging in order to learn what all of your options are. By doing so, you’ll guarantee that you choose a loan that’ll suit your needs and requirements.
6. Free Consultations Are a Must
No matter what option you choose from our list, you must ensure that you schedule free consultations with several lawyers in order to understand the entire process better. Additionally, they’ll probably tell you what needs to be done, implying that you could gain some useful tips for your case.
Remember, most of the attorneys out there offer free consultations, so, you could browse the Internet to find one that’ll help you with your case. You’ll want to do some digging and learn what you should ask them during the meeting since this will guarantee that you get useful advice.
7. Opt For Representing Yourself
Last on our list, but not least important is that you could also choose to represent yourself, especially if none of the aforementioned options work for you. For instance, if you’ll be filing an uncontested divorce – implying that your partner won’t disagree on anything – you could file everything by yourself.
Keep in mind, if it does happen that you file everything and your spouse contests anything, you could follow useful online guides and tutorials on how you could represent yourself throughout the process. Hence, ensure that you do some digging before filing anything to court.
If you’re currently unable to hire an attorney for your divorce case, you could choose one of the aforementioned options for obtaining one. Remember, if the options above aren’t available to you, you could always choose to represent yourself and in this case, ensure that you learn exactly what you’ll have to do.
So, now that you’re aware of all the options you can choose from, you really shouldn’t waste any more of your time. Instead, return to the beginning of this article, and start with the first thing we mentioned, which is looking for a pro-bono attorney that’ll help you with your court case.