Even in the best circumstances, divorce is difficult. In most cases, emotions run high while funds run low. Divorcing couples usually find themselves with half the funds they once had while debt continues to run high. Perhaps the couple was already deeply in debt, or maybe one partner has frozen the assets. Whatever the situation may be, sometimes it is needed, and possible, to find a pro bono divorce lawyer.
Court-Ordered Spousal Support
There are many instances in which one spouse makes a great deal more money than the other. A judge may order that one spouse pay for the other’s legal fees if the higher-earning individual is fairly well off. A lawyer may take a case based on the premise that a judge will make this order. There are times that a judge will order that the higher-earning spouse only pay partial legal fees, in which case the other spouse must make up the difference.
Contact the State Bar Association
The Bar Association for each state should have a list of attorneys who provide pro bono, or free, services to individuals attempting to divorce. Some of these attorneys are relatively new and seeking experience, but many are those who are simply desirous of doing a good deed for those who need it the most. Generally, these services are reserved only for those who truly cannot afford to pay. This means that the divorcing individual will need to show proof of income, debt, and expenses.
Seek Legal Aid Offices
Legal aid, sometimes called legal services, is a type of organization that provides help to people with low income. Legal aid often puts individuals in touch with attorneys that will offer advice or full services. All processes are need-based.
Consider Courthouse Facilitators
A quick call to the county courthouse can put one in touch with a facilitator. While a courthouse facilitator is not an attorney, they can help an individual file for divorce on his or her own behalf. The facilitator will make sure the correct paperwork is filed in the appropriate location. They may sometimes be able to help calculate the correct amount of child support and/or alimony that should be requested. A courthouse facilitator is an ideal choice if neither party can afford an attorney.
Settle for a Consultation
Many divorce lawyers will offer a one-time consultation for a reduced fee in order to help individuals who do not qualify for other programs but still need a lawyer to help with certain situations. When consulting a lawyer, individuals should make sure they know in advance exactly how much will be charged and what will be covered in the allotted time.