Free or low cost legal services in matters of divorce, child custody, child support, separation, dissolution of marriage, alimony, visitation, dividing property and mediation are available in states all across the U.S. The cost of getting a divorce through an expensive lawyer has caused many couples to seek a “divorce for free” by going the do-it-yourself “Pro Se” route, usually with the help of online divorce kits, books and ebooks for uncontested, no-fault divorces.
Divorce software packages, commonly referred to as divorce kits, can save you a lot of money in attorney’s fees if your divorce is an amicable, uncontested divorce and there are no young children involved. If you’re wondering how to get a divorce on the cheap, it’s important that you spend some time doing your research and learning what your rights are, regardless if you hire a lawyer for your divorce or download divorce forms and do it yourself.
If you don’t understand your legal rights pertaining to getting a divorce from your husband or wife, or about child custody and visitation laws in your area, getting a “free divorce” by way of downloadable forms found online may end up costing you thousands upon thousands of dollars in lawyer fees that you may not be able to afford.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
Divorce is big business in the United States, with the average cost of a divorce ranging somewhere between $20 – $40,000 according to recent statistics. Do you really want a divorce? Are you sure? If there is any doubt in your mind about divorcing your spouse, consider the option to stop your divorce and save your marriage while you still can. Nevertheless, there are many ways to reduce the high cost of attorney’s fees, since lining the pockets of expensive divorce lawyers with your hard-earned money isn’t on the list of favorite things to do for most people.
Is there a way to get a free divorce if you can’t afford the high cost of hiring an attorney, or at least a low cost divorce that includes child custody, visitation and child support? Is there such a thing as a “hardship divorce”? Darlene writes, “I want to divorce my husband and need a divorce lawyer, but I can’t afford to hire an attorney and pay the full price with my limited income. How do I get a low cost or cheap divorce nowadays, and is there such a thing as a free divorce?”
The quick and short answer is Yes, you can get free legal services or a low cost divorce, but you have to be willing to do some searching online, make some phone calls and fill out the required forms your attorney will need to provide the best legal help possible. For a hardship divorce, you can choose to file for a divorce yourself with forms found at your local county clerk’s office or state court website, and even represent yourself in court proceedings, but that can be very risky if you don’t know what you are doing. There are also forms to fill out about your financial situation and where you can ask that your court fees be waived, or request that your soon-to-be ex be required to pay your fees.
Get a Free Divorce
Finding a free divorce lawyer or family law attorney to handle your case with or without child custody, visitation, child support and similar problems typical in divorce cases is as simple as searching for information with the right terms or words. Have you ever heard the terms “Pro Bono Lawyers”, “Volunteer Lawyers”, “Legal Aid”, “Lawyer Referral Service”, or “Volunteer Lawyer Program”?
If you are having child custody battles with your spouse, or anticipate child custody or visitation issues to flair up during your divorce proceedings or even after the divorce is finalized, tough child custody attorneys to “kick butt” in court when needed should be at the top of your list.
Legal aid services can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you’ve been told you don’t qualify for legal aid based on low income eligibility requirements or other factors. LSC Legal Services Corporation (www.lsc.gov) is the largest provider of civil legal aid services in our nation, providing legal help and family law assistance to low income individuals, veterans, families and children, victims of domestic violence, the elderly and more. Check the LSC website for details to determine if you meet the Legal Aid Eligibility Requirements in your area.
Pro Bono Lawyers are lawyers who volunteer their time to provide legal services for free. A pro bono lawyer takes on free cases from basic administrative issues, to civil and criminal legal cases. As you could probably imagine, many pro bono lawyers don’t advertise their free services, even though many state bar associations require attorneys to complete a certain number of pro bono hours annually.
To find pro bono lawyers in your area, you can call local general practice attorneys and ask if they are accepting pro bono cases (or ask to speak with their pro bono coordinator if they have one), or you can head straight to the American Bar Association (ABA) website at www.abanet.org and click on the “Public Resources” tab at the top of the page and then click on “Find Legal Help” for a list of legal referral services and resources in your state.
Volunteer Lawyers participate in the Volunteer Lawyers Program, providing high quality free legal services within their communities. Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) at www.cvls.org has 20 legal clinics in the Chicagoland area, with Margaret C. Benson as Executive Director. Since the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation was formed 45 years ago, CVLS has provided free legal services to more than 200,000 clients including me by more than 2,700 volunteer lawyers, for FREE.
There are many federally funded legal services programs and referral services in every state, just as there are many pro bono, low-cost or reduced-fee attorney panels and hotlines providing affordable legal help for those who meet eligibility requirements and limitations.
If you are looking for a Volunteer Lawyer to handle your divorce case, be sure to visit LawHelp at www.LawHelp.org, as LawHelp helps low income and moderate income people find free legal aid programs and referrals in their local communities, including answering questions about your legal rights as it pertains to your case. Other possible legal resources to check out include websites such as Divorce.com, DivorceOnline.com and CompleteCase.com that offer state-specific legal forms to downloadable divorce kits.
No Fault Divorce Online is a website that promises a fast and easy “click and split” divorce for uncontested or default divorces, including various divorce forms and other divorce papers that are needed to get a divorce, however they are not divorce lawyers and do not give legal advice. There are also many do it yourself divorce books or divorce guide books with forms and papers included to help with the divorce process. Divorce is never easy or painless, at least not emotionally or mentally, but it is doable and you can survive it just fine even if your divorce is not completely 100% free.
(Disclaimer: I am not lawyer, and this site is provided for informational purposes only, so please don’t send me your personal case information. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not constitute legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a professional attorney in your state. That means, this site is “as is”. No representations are made as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of the stuff here and you should not rely upon it as legal advice, because I don’t want to update this post every day. Use at your risk. This may be an advertisement, blah blah blah. Your mileage may vary. Past performance does not guarantee future returns. Do not run with scissors. Call your mother. FTC be damned)