Lawyers can get quite expensive, but what happens when you really need a lawyer but can’t afford one? If you can’t afford a custody lawyer, you risk losing your kids.
When it comes to your family, you don’t want to take any chances. Losing your kids would mean losing your whole world. As a responsible parent, you are entitled to half of your children’s time regardless of how much money you have. But if you can’t afford a lawyer, it’s like you’re being punished for how much money you make.
Getting a lawyer is vital if you’re trying to get full custody of your kids because your ex partner is abusive. Keeping your children happy and safe is what matters most. Having a lawyer ensures you and your children are legally protected.
Most people know that if you’re arrested, it’s in your rights to have a lawyer even if you can’t afford one. Notably, there’s no law in family court that will assign you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. Although it may feel like you’re straight out of luck if you can’t afford a custody lawyer, there are a few options to get you legal aid.
How To Get Free Legal Aid
Each jurisdiction is a little different, but most lawyers will give you a free 30 minute consultation. Be honest and brief with your lawyer, and ask them what they think your best course of action should be. There are several suggestions they may make such as:
- Going to your local courthouse to see options
- Resources to free legal aid societies in your area
- Recommending your case to a local law school
- Contacting your local bar association
- Domestic abuse shelters
There are lots of options available to you if you can’t afford a custody lawyer. So even if you can’t go to a consultation, there are some options available. Here are the steps you need to take to get free legal advice.
Your Local Courthouse
At your nearest courthouse, see if you can find whoever is in charge of administration. Some courts may offer free assistance to people with extenuating circumstances. Even if you can’t find a free consultation, your local court will still have all the information you need for your custody battle.
Free Legal Aid Societies
There’s lots of legal aid services out there. Another reason for you to go to your local courthouse is to see if they can recommend different legal aid societies. Some may have specific organizations that help people in your predicament. For instance, lots of lawyers will volunteer their time to help people from a community they came from.
Even top law schools like Harvard offer legal aid programs with free or discounted prices. You’ll be assigned to work with a group of students and a supervising professor. In turn, your case is used as a learning experience for the students, while still providing top care.
Your Local Bar Association
If you still can’t find free legal help, try going to your local bar association. Even if they cannot offer you free or discounted legal help, they can help in some other ways.
Your bar association will let you know if there’s a lawyer in your area who specializes in cases like yours and if they can give you a free consultation. If your situation is dire, someone at the bar association may sympathize and offer more legal aid such as pro bono services or limited scope retainers.
Pro Bono Services (Free Legal Aid)
Pro bono services are when a lawyer offers free representation to their clients. Just because you cannot afford a lawyer does not mean a lawyer would be willing to immediately offer their services for free. Any time a lawyer does offer pro bono services, it means that they’re forgoing their own fee, along with the fee of their entire team to help you.
If you’re seeking pro bono services, ask a lawyer if they’re involved in any community outreach programs. See if you qualify for the programs your lawyer works with, or ask your lawyer if there are any you can get involved with.
Larger law firms often have programs offering pro bono services. More small-time lawyers will help people from specific communities or marginalized groups as a way to give back either as an act of charity or because they came from that community.
If a lawyer cannot offer you free services, they may offer you discounted services. That could include either a:
- Reduced hourly fee
- Limited scope retainer
- Unbundled services
- Legal advice
Lawyers who offer “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services will help you with only a specific part of your case. You would still represent yourself, but you would have access to one or two of the following:
- Legal advice
- Document preparation
- Appearance in a court setting
- Coaching or mentorship with your case
This is helpful for those who make too much money to qualify for legal aid, but require assistance in their custody battle case.
Victims of Domestic Violence
If you’re a domestic violence victim, you need more than help with just your custody case. During this process, you should also file for a restraining order against your abuser. Domestic violence victims not only need to protect themselves, but their children as well.
You can speak to a free counselor about the abuse with the National Domestic Hotline at 1(800) 799-7233.
For more information on domestic abuse, visit the Women’s Health Organization. Their website can also let you know if there are local shelters and organizations that offer free services.
Lawyers will often offer legal aid if you have extreme circumstances or are experiencing domestic abuse. If you need a lawyer to help escape your abuser, call My Case Helper for free legal advice and to see what option best suits you.
Get Legal Help
My Case Helper works with qualified professionals and knowledgeable lawyers who can help you find legal solutions. Even if you cannot afford a lawyer for your custody battle, you still have options. To get free legal advice, call (844) 980-1574 to find a lawyer today.