Litigation over custody of your children can be a daunting and daunting experience. Even more so when money is tight. Even if your finances can’t support expensive legal representation, affordable options are available, and for some people, free custody attorneys can be one of them.
Affordable legal representation and assistance may be available through the closest law firm, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). These are not-for-profit organizations that provide financial assistance with legal issues to those who meet income requirements. You can also contact a free law firm where a lawyer has volunteered to take your case on for free.
What is a Pro Bono Lawyer?
A pro bono attorney offers services for free or at greatly reduced costs. Typically, people on very low incomes are just as skilled as people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, the elderly, members of the military, or special circumstances that make it difficult to obtain legal assistance.
If you are looking for free custody attorneys and want to hire a pro bono attorney, there are five things to keep in mind upfront.
Do you qualify for Pro Bono’s legal assistance?
Legal fees in custody matters can be extremely expensive. A lawyer is expected to be paid hourly and will likely also require a substantial deductible (a down payment on any legal fees incurred) to support your case. Parents who cannot afford a private attorney have two main options: Represent yourself, also known legally as per se. If you meet the income requirements of the pro bono program, you can request services from a pro bono attorney.
You can find self-promotion resources on your state government website by searching for resources on your state government website.
Does the other party have a lawyer?
If you know the person you are facing in court has legal representation, it is probably best to hire an attorney rather than represent yourself. In a blog post about the benefits of hiring an attorney for your custody case, Florida-based attorneys at Lopez & Humphries say that working with an attorney gives you the peace of mind that they have the expertise to present your case in the best light.
They are also trained negotiators, says Lopez & Humphries’ attorney, writing, “According to the American Bar Association, less than 5% of these types of cases actually make it to a judge. That is the majority of the cases that the parents do do.” their own agreement before they land in the courthouse, usually through negotiation between them and their lawyers. ”
Are you comfortable with your lawyer?
When choosing a lawyer, it is extremely important that you are familiar with them. Because of the nature of the pro bono services, some parents may consider compromising their own ideas or strategies for the custody matter in favor of the free attorney’s services.
While you have the option to decline to represent an attorney, San Antonio, Texas-based attorney Joseph Hoelscher of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC states that requesting a new representation may extend your case. “In most custody cases, clients are not entitled to free legal representation, so they may not have to get a new lawyer or wait. Also, lawyers usually have to go through a formal resignation process that can take some time and require the approval of a judge.” says Hoelscher, who is also a member of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas.
Lawyers have an obligation to advise clients honestly and correctly, including submitting cases to new lawyers, until the formal end of their representation.
The most efficient way to request another lawyer is to return to the agency or organization that helped you get pro bono services, says Hoelscher, or if your lawyer has been appointed by the court to take the request in court to deliver. Note, however, that “lawyers are required to give their clients honest and correct advice until their representation is officially terminated, including assisting in transferring cases to new lawyers,” says Hoelscher.
Is your lawyer familiar with family law?
The corporate law departments typically promote and support pro bono programs. As such, you may find a lawyer who normally practices corporate law but chooses to work on a side-line project on a family law project. While there is nothing wrong with this scenario, it’s important to make sure your attorney is familiar with family law procedures to avoid surprises in court. Additionally, when seeking advice from a law firm, you want to be sure that whoever is representing you is the right person for the job by reviewing their experience. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to ask your prospective attorney how familiar they are with family law.
Have you done your research?
Spend some time researching your lawyer and familiarizing yourself with how the courts work before hiring anyone. One starting point is Free Legal Answers, an ABA service that offers short but free legal advice.
The reality is that pro bono resources are limited, says Hoelscher. Pro bono clients who make their attorney’s job easier often get better service than clients who are overly demanding or uncooperative. To get the most out of your volunteer attorney’s expertise, “Pro Bono clients should respect attorney’s time by scheduling calls, having a list of things to talk about and sticking to the points of interest, and the attorney.” organize well materials that the lawyer needs quickly, “says Hoelscher.