What If You Can’t Afford a Divorce Attorney? 

The cost of divorce can be a significant concern for many people, but there are ways to get legal aid and representation at a low rate. The first step is to check with your local courthouse or the American Bar Association to find out if there are any programs that help lower-income couples navigate the divorce process. 

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A lawyer’s fees can be expensive, especially if your case is particularly complex or if you need to retain an attorney who has particular expertise in your situation. A good divorce attorney will offer multiple funding options during the initial consultation so that you can choose the one that best fits your budget. 

Ask for a fee waiver 

In some states, including New Jersey, you can ask the court to waive your initial filing fees. This can be a huge relief in an otherwise costly divorce. However, you should note that these applications are usually rejected by judges. 

Talk to your spouse about a separation agreement and a compromise on custody issues 

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding custody of your children, child support, and/or property division, there may be no need to file for divorce at all. This will reduce your legal costs and avoid any possible resentment or further conflict with your former partner. 

Seek out assistance from friends and family 

Your friends, families, and other people who care about you can be a great resource for help with settling a difficult divorce. They may be able to cosign a loan for you, or they can even lend you money at a reasonable interest rate so that you can pay your divorce attorney’s fees. 

Consider small claims court 

If the issue that you’re facing involves a fairly minor debt or some other unsecured claim, you can try to settle it in small claims court instead of going to court. You can usually file for small claims court without an attorney and can get an answer within a short period of time, if not immediately. 

Request for interim attorney fees if you are the monied spouse: If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can request temporary attorney fees from the judge presiding over your case. The judge will take into account the resources that each party has, and determine whether or not a spouse should pay their attorney’s fees during the course of the divorce proceedings. 

Use a self-service divorce guide 

If you don’t have much money and are worried about being stuck with an attorney, you can file for a divorce based on a “no-fault” divorce, which is often cheaper than a traditional divorce. Despite this, you still need an experienced and qualified divorce attorney to help you. 

You can also consult with a mediator, who may be able to help you reach an amicable resolution on your divorce. This will often reduce the number of legal expenses you incur, and will save both parties money in the long run.