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Is there anything like a hardship divorce if you have no money?

July 11, 2017

As anyone who has been through the process or is currently facing one can attest to, divorce can be incredibly expensive. In many cases, you potentially end up paying upwards of several thousand dollars in attorney and legal fees. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t have this kind of money, which leaves some struggling to find a way to pay these fees so that they can finally end their marriage. If this sounds like you, it’s important to know that you do have options. You shouldn’t have to stay stuck in a toxic situation simply because you can’t afford the divorce fees, which is why anyone struggling to pay for their divorce needs to know the following facts.

The Court May Waive Your Fees or Force Your Spouse to Pay
Although most states don’t technically offer a hardship divorce, they do still offer other ways for you to cut down or completely eliminate the associated legal fees. Instead of hiring a queens county divorce lawyer, you can simply go down to the local court clerk’s office to obtain all necessary forms and documents. This can include a form to petition the court to waive the required legal fees or to require that your spouse pay all the fees. Either way, you’ll generally be required to provide evidence of your financial situation to prove that you can’t afford the fees.

You Can Represent Yourself
If your spouse doesn’t contest the divorce, it may be as simple as filing the requisite forms and then waiting for a judge to issue the final divorce decree. In cases where both spouses can agree on division of assets/debts and custody, there is usually no need to hire an attorney as you can easily represent yourself. Should you decide to do so, you’ll want to make sure to ask the court clerk for the ‘pro se’ divorce package, which should include everything you need to represent yourself during the divorce proceedings.

Not All Divorce Attorneys Are Expensive
A contested divorce is always far more complicated than if the divorce is uncontested. If you find yourself facing the prospect of a long custody battle or mediation, it is essential that you seek the help of an attorney. However, if you can’t afford a divorce attorney, many legal firms offer low-cost or pro-bono services for people who need to get out of their marriage quickly but can’t afford the legal fees.

A quick online search or call to your local bar association should allow you to find at least a few such services in your area. You’ll usually need to plead your case and prove your financial situation in order to convince them to take on your case, but it will be well worth it if it allows you to get the legal help you so desperately need.

You May Be Able to Sell Off Your Assets to Pay for the Divorce
Although the laws are different in every state, some jurisdictions allow you to sell off some of your marital property or assets in order to pay for the divorce. This can be useful in situations where a husband controls the finances and thus the wife has no access to money to hire a divorce attorney. In such a case, you could consider selling off your wedding ring or other marital property in order to pay the required attorney fees.

However, not all states allow this and you could be forced to pay back any marital funds you spent on legal fees. Therefore, it is essential that you speak with an attorney before taking this step. Luckily, many lawyers offer free consultations to allow you to ask about this and other pertinent questions without having to pay any fees.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to go about getting a divorce on the cheap or entirely for free. This means that there is no reason that you have to stay in an unhappy situation simply because of your finances. By taking the following steps, you can finally start getting on with your new life without having to risk your financial future.

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