It is stressful if you are on a budget and wondering how you will meet the costs of a lawyer. Retaining a family lawyer from start to finish may mean an overwhelming invoice at the end. Similarly, not hiring a lawyer could be a mistake. Which ever path you choose, it is entirely your decision. Each divorce is different. Sometimes an individual’s situation changes throughout the divorce process and tricky questions or situations arise. Having direction from professional legal counsel is incredibly valuable. Knowing how to navigate financial settlements, parenting and custody arrangements, spousal maintenance as well as knowing the realistic parameters of what you are entitled to may make the difference between spending years in the family court or settling faster out of court by consent.
So, what happens and what can you do if you can’t afford a Family Lawyer working on your case ‘on tap’ or ‘at will’ and as necessary:
One added benefit to implementing limited scope (#2) and free consultations (#3) is that you can save extra time and money by using the same lawyer for each of your short-term works. This will cut the need to brief and re-brief you lawyer about the specifics of your situation.
Of course, you can always self-represent. However, there are challenges associated with this too. Some Judges are great at supporting self-represented individuals and others are not. With the increasing pressures on the family court system, the Judge’s patience can wear thin. What you consider to be crucial and relevant may not be. You may be over sharing information that could be more harmful for your case. Further, you may not be filling out the necessary documentation correctly.
To this end, it is always worthy of having legal representation and the individualised advice of a family lawyer. Be open and honest with your lawyer about your budgetary constraints and ask how you can work alongside them to save money. Familiarise yourself with the Divorce Answered specialised tools which can help you prepare documents for your lawyer and then forward to your lawyer for advice and opinion.