What if I cannot afford an attorney for a contested divorce?

Contested divorces can be time-consuming and expensive. They require extensive discovery, numerous court appearances, and a trial, which can run from a full day to a week. 

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There are ways to reduce the cost of a contested divorce, however. You may be able to save money by hiring a mediator or getting help from an online divorce service. 

You can also ask the court to waive your fees if you can’t afford them, or you may be able to have the judge award you legal assistance. In addition, there are some state programs that provide fee waivers to people who can’t afford to pay. 

In New York, you can get a court-appointed attorney for free if you are unable to pay the other spouse’s legal fees. This is a great option for people who can’t afford to hire an attorney on their own, but you should talk to your attorney about how you can qualify for this. 

A contested divorce can be challenging and stressful, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. It is important to have a skilled divorce lawyer by your side who will fight for your rights and represent you in the best possible way. 

You should start by finding a lawyer who offers a low or no-cost consultation. Many lawyers offer this service, and you can also look for a lawyer who offers pro bono services. 

If you are having trouble finding a good divorce lawyer, you can seek assistance from a family law attorney who is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) or an attorney who practices family law in your area. These attorneys are usually very experienced and know what to do to help you save money on your legal fees. 

Another option for you is to use a legal aid society or a volunteer lawyer program that provides legal advice and assistance for free. You can find a list of such organizations by searching online or calling your local courthouse. 

In many cases, you can file all of the paperwork yourself with no attorney, but there are a few things that you will need to do to prepare for your hearing. For example, you will need to fill out a Statement of Net Worth, which is a sworn statement that lists your assets and debts. This document will need to be notarized before it can be submitted in court. 

Once you have filed the necessary papers, your case will be reviewed by a court employee or a judge. They will check to make sure that your request for a fee waiver is valid. If it is, they will then decide whether to grant your request. 

If the judge approves your fee waiver, then you can proceed with the divorce without paying any additional fees. In some cases, the court will defer your fees until later in the process, when it is time to negotiate a settlement or judgment with your ex-spouse.