There are not any benefits that kick in simply due to unemployment but if you are below a certain level of income and assets there are some benefits you may be entitled to such as the court paying for service of a Complaint for Divorce, waiving the Parenting Course cost, etc. The Court in Massachusetts does not provide free legal services in family law cases though.
If you cannot pay for a lawyer there are a number of options for you to still obtain legal advice. There are numerous legal aid services that you may qualify for, and I have provided a link to a webpage below that contains a directory of these services available in Massachusetts.
In addition, it is possible that the Judge will order your spouse to pay your legal fees if he/she is able to. This request will depend on the specific facts of your case and the availability of funds. You may be able to find an attorney who will take your case and file such a Motion based on a small retainer and the likelihood of receiving further funds.
Also, many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Even if you are unable to eventually hire that attorney, the initial consultation could still provide you with invaluable information regarding your rights and obligations in a divorce case. I have also included a link below to the webpage for my firm for scheduling a Free 1-Hour initial consultation.
Finally, there is also a Lawyer-of-the-Day program in many courts in Massachusetts. As part of that program an attorney volunteers their time for the day to answer legal questions and help potential litigants fill out forms in the courthouse. If you plan to meet with the Lawyer of the Day try to get to the Courthouse early (it opens at 8:30 A.M.) because the line can fill up quickly on a busy day and sometimes they only stay until 3:00 P.M.
If you need the assistance of an attorney, you will have to pay for it. If there is a disparity in earning between you and your spouse, it may be appropriate to request that your spouse pay for your legal fees. If you would like to discuss your options, please feel free to contact my office.
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