What If I Can’t Afford A Lawyer?

It is no secret that lawyers are not inexpensive, and divorces are not cheap. While certainly we believe you will be better off with a lawyer on your side, there are some options if you need to keep expenses down.

If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, one option is Pro Se Assistance. A pro se is someone who is representing themselves rather than having an attorney represent them. A pro se can still choose to consult with an attorney for guidance. This might be advice about what to say in court or how to conduct discovery (information gathering), or they might ask the lawyer to draft key documents for them.

Another option is engaging in some form of dispute resolution with the other party, such as divorce mediation. If the mediator can help you reach an agreement, all you might need a lawyer for is getting some advice prior to going into mediation, and to draft the necessary divorce papers after you reach the agreement in mediation.

There are also often resources available through your local Bar Association. The King County Bar Association has a Family Law Legal Clinic staffed by volunteer lawyers. They won’t be able to represent you, but they can answer questions, review documents, and help you get pointed in the right direction. From the KCBA website: “To make an appointment call 206- 267-7070 Tuesday – Thursday from 9:00am- 12:00 pm. Please note, appointments are scheduled no more than 7 days in advance. The scheduling line receives a high volume of calls so you may experience wait times between 5 to 10 minutes.”

Another program through the KCBA is the Self Help-Plus Program. That program helps people in non-contested cases prepare the paperwork they will need to complete their divorce. You can also find more informaiton about that program on the KCBA website link above.