How to get assistance that will help cover divorce costs

By Jeannine Mancini
Divorce is tough enough without added stress on the wallet

man and woman divorced image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com

Divorce can be emotionally and financially draining. If you have made the difficult decision to file for divorce, lawyer costs and filing fees should not get in the way. Unfortunately, some couples are forced to stay unhappily married due to the inability to afford a divorce. If you are in financial need, there is assistance available to help cover the costs associated with your divorce.

Apply for legal aid. Legal aid varies from state to state and even county to county. Legal aid is representation by a staffed attorney free of charge. If you visit your local courthouse, they will be able to help you apply for legal aid. In order to receive legal aid, you must be within the income guidelines.

Contact your local or state bar association. Most areas offer a volunteer lawyer program to assist with divorce. This is a good option for those who do not meet the income qualifications to receive legal aid.

Obtain the divorce papers. Check your local courthouse website to download and print the divorce papers for free.

Attend a workshop for help completing the forms. You do not necessarily need an attorney for a divorce. Once you have the forms, complete them on your own. Many states have tutorials and even workshops to help fill out the paperwork properly. Check with your local law library for information if you do not understand the terminology. Do not hesitate to ask the clerk questions when completing the papers.

Ask the bank to notarize your paperwork. All divorce papers must be signed and notarized before they can be filed. Many banks offer complimentary notary services to account holders.

File indigent. If you are declared indigent, the court will pay your court and filing fees. In some states, these can be as much as $400. Submit an indigent application at the courthouse. You will need to provide a sworn statement and financial information.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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