What If I Can’t Afford To Pay My Divorce Lawyer Up Front?
If you can’t afford to pay your lawyer upfront, you are not out of luck. It’s true that many attorneys charge by the hour or require a retainer fee. Many people struggle to come up with the funds they need for different types of legal fees. This is especially true when you’re going through a difficult divorce. Fortunately, you have options to consider if you can’t afford upfront payments.
Make Sure To Speak With Multiple Lawyers
You don’t have to settle for the first attorney you speak with. Divorce and family law lawyers all provide the same services. However, the rates you pay will vary with each attorney. Different law firms may use a variety of payment systems, too.
Feeling pressured to choose a lawyer quickly is common. But this is a major decision that impacts your entire life. And when your finances are tight, you need to carefully weigh your options. It’s perfectly fine to consult with a few divorce attorneys. You may find one suits you much better than the others.
Consider Working With A Law Student
Law school students that have passed the state bar exam are often eager to find work. Some law students can also practice law under a faculty member from their school. They need professional experience to increase their chances of getting hired by a firm. Students will often provide divorce attorney services for highly discounted rates. Some may even be willing to assist you for free.
Make sure to ask a law student a few questions before hiring him. What school did they attend, and how did they perform academically? When did they take and pass the state bar exam? What type of compensation are they seeking? These are just a few main examples. Make a list of questions you have prior to meeting law students.
Discuss Installment Fee Arrangements
The media often portrays attorneys as being tough and ruthless. But legal professionals are also compassionate, and their main goal is to help their clients win. Divorce lawyers are often willing to make payment arrangements with their clients. They understand that you are going through an extremely hard time.
Payment arrangements typically consist of making installment fees. For example, you may pay a set amount per month. Or you may pay your attorney every time a milestone is reached in your case. You may be able to pay both during and after your case, too. It all depends on what a lawyer is willing to do.
Consider writing down different payment methods you can afford. Present these during consultations with divorce attorneys. Don’t get discouraged if one or two law firms aren’t willing to take installment payments. Be persistent and continue looking for legal assistance that’s compatible with your financial situation.
Communicate Honestly With Your Lawyer
Being honest is absolutely crucial if you cannot afford to pay your lawyer up front. Do not lie or omit any details about your financial situation. The truth will always come out sooner or later. The relationship between you and your attorney should be built on trust. This goes both ways, so be transparent about any money struggles.
Again, some divorce attorneys may turn you away due to your financial problems. This can certainly make you feel discouraged, but don’t let it stop you. Getting divorced without legal assistance is too risky. Keep pursuing lawyers and being truthful and open about what you can afford.
Look Into Credit Cards And Personal Loans
It’s never wise to fully rely on credit cards when you don’t have cash on hand. But credit cards and loans are options for major life events like divorces. See if you qualify for a low-interest credit card. If you’re an established member of a bank or credit union, start by inquiring there.
You can also explore the option of peer-to-peer lending. This lending option allows you to obtain a personal loan from a peer investor. In most cases, the requirements aren’t as strict as they are at banks and credit unions. And you have the opportunity to explain that you need the loan for urgent legal matters.
There’s Always A Solution When Hiring A Divorce Attorney
Overall, you have multiple options to consider if you can’t afford to pay your lawyer up front. One of the scenarios above will surely work out for you. Just make sure to discuss your financial situation thoroughly with any divorce attorney you speak to. This will ensure that you secure legal assistance during this difficult time