Pro bono lawyer
I can’t imagine any good lawyer would take on a divorce pro bono. Having family lawyers in my family I know how much time and effort is spent on these cases and how many motions need to be filed. I would recommend a mediator rather than finding a lawyer willing to do all that work for free
I have never heard of a lawyer doing pro bono work for a divorce. I agree with Jim L regarding trying a mediator. Good luck.
I agree with all the above. I don't think it's fair to think that a lawyer Would do a free divorce. Usually the pro bono work an attorney does is for a charity. Did you get married pro bono? Not trying to be rude but why are people always looking for free???
"Not trying to be rude but why are people always looking for free???"
I don't know if this is the case here, but unfortunately many people are down on their luck financially. NJ is an expensive place to live. I've known several couples over the years that stayed in bad marriages because they couldn't financially afford the divorce. Between the lawyer fees, separate living expenses, child support, alimony etc. Like is said often, "It's cheaper to keep her". LOL
Obviously, no matter what the circumstances of the relationship or the separation, it's best to try to work out as many things as you can, together, before going to court. Every time something is contested, attorneys for BOTH sides have to work at it, and BOTH sides end up paying their attorneys for it. If it has gotten to the point where you can't be reasonable and discuss things, then a mediator is the next choice.
But if things are complicated (a lot of assets and/or minor children involved), it often makes sense to hire an attorney. There are some agencies that will offer free or discounted services and/or advice, but they are VERY limited and VERY overwhelmed. And unless you have an attorney friend who owes you a big favor, it's unlikely one is just going to spend a lot of time and money, to represent you for free.
If you really feel that you need an attorney, my best advice is to try borrowing money to hire one. It may end up costing you less, in the long run.
Only 5k+? Try plus a lot more. My friend who filed three years ago paid 10k for a retainer. She put it on a credit card, that she had applied for strictly for this purpose, a few months before the separation. She was a stay at home mom at the time. That retainer was run through in three months. In the end, she couldn't afford to pay more money and had to represent herself. The result of that is she pretty much got screwed.
My husband's legal bills, from when he divorced his first wife, were nearly 30k. And that was 20 years ago.
The bottom line is, the more you argue, the more it will cost you.
My divorce, from my first husband, cost $500 and we split that. We were reasonable with each other regarding the division of property and there were no children involved.
My friend represented himself because he couldn't afford an attorney. His ex-wife had an attorney and lost all her motions including her request for attorney fees. If your motions are reasonable and the ex's are not, justice will prevail.
My niece did her divorce herself. There’s a book at the library with all the forms and procedures to do it. It cost her like 300 dollars just to do certain filings. She said the hardest part was keeping a calendar for the timing of when to file what. I went and got that book too, oh and I just remembered that you can’t take it out of the library so you have to make copies of everything. And the librarian said, sadly enough this is the most requested book here! I never followed through on my own because my ex was not cooperating. But once they realized it meant real money for them they were more agreeable. Cost me about 3k. Good luck!
5k is a lot of money for some people, myself included.
If it's a consensual simple divorce, an attorney may not be needed and the parties can file themselves. Of course this depends on assets, child custody, child support, etc.
I filed my own divorce papers and represented myself in court and had a minor child. It cost me less than $300 in filing fees & downloading the forms. It all comes down to what you and your spouse can agree on & will sign off on in the end
There is no need to consult any book with forms, etc. actually IF it's an uncontested divorce. While being able to refer to the book for timing and other concerns, most of what you actually need may be able to be obtained for free from your local County Clerk's Office. I was in the Sussex County Clerk's Office on another matter and walked over to the window where they handle such things and asked about it. They responded that there is a basic filing fee which I believe at the time was $300, up a bit from what it had been. The forms themselves would beat me back to my house since they emailed me a "Divorce Packet", containing the forms and info I needed.
I tried to look it up for Warren County, but I found this invaluable PDF link from the Legal Services Office of NJ (129 pages) called "Divorce in New Jersey" which mentions all the details you should need to decide which route may be best for you to take. It does say that the forms themselves are NOT included and that they are available for purchase, but those within income limits may qualify for free forms:
legalzoom claims you can get free forms for an uncontested divorce if you visit the County Courthouse. Maybe that was the difference in me being able to get a "divorce packet" by email, I'm not sure.
Unfortunately since you were asking about a lawyer to begin with, I'm guessing that it will not be amicable, nor uncontested, so perhaps only the first link may be of value to you. I hope you find it useful and that things go much more smoothly than you expect.
Thanks everyone for the great advice. It will be a simple divorce. I'll definitely look into filing myself.
Phil D. I asked about a lawyer because lots of people are telling me that's the best way to go. Obviously not. Thanks!
No such thing as a simple divorce....I thought I was going to have a simple one.....still had $28K in lawyer's fees (and I did much of the work). My ex had over $60K.
If you really believe it will be simple and you are on amicable terms with your soon to be ex-spouse, work with a mediator.
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