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I have already filed for divorce in Tennessee and I have no monies for a lawyer. My spouse does not agree. How do I find help?

Martin, TN |

I filed in Oct. 2012 paid filing fee and my spouse agreed that we should divorce. Now he has changed his mind. Our children are adults, there is no property to divide, we have tried counseling and I can't afford lawyer fees. Is there anyway for me to get out of this marriage?

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Attorney answers 7


Contact the local bar association and the local law schools and see if they have pro Bono programs.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or


It may not be very difficult to conclude the matter. Go on the court's website in the county that you filed your case in and/or go to the courthouse. There should be some help available for pro se litigants who do not have lawyers. Have you served him the divorce papers? If so you may be able to simply give him notice of a default hearing andgo to court and ask that he be held in default. If there is no pro[erty then the paperwork is minimal. There is help out there for you if you seek it. I suggest you don't drop the ball and make every attempt to get this wrapped up. Ther are pro bono services available also. The local bar association should be able to help you. Look up legal aid online or in the phone book for your local area. You got your case this far and you can get it finished! Good luck to you!

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER "Helpful" or " The Best Answer" YOU CAN THANK ATTORNEY RADDATZ BY MARKING IT SO because Avvo awards the attorney points. MS. RADDATZ is donating her time and talent by answering questions to help those in need of legal information. This is NOT a consultation and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PERSONALLY CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR LOCAL AREA who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.


I agree with counsels answers, adding that when you check with the court clerk, inquire as to whether there are any mediation/family services available for pro se litigants. Best of Luck.


Contact the Legal Aid Department in your area.


If you have grounds for divorce other than irreconcilable differences, you can provide evidence to the court on other grounds, usually through two other witnesses, and be granted a divorce. If you only alleged irreconcilable differences in the divorce complaint, you will need to amend it to allege the other ground (i.e., inappropriate marital conduct, separation for two years, adultery, etc.) Try contacting Legal Aid to see if they can help you, or perhaps you can find a lawyer to finish up the process for you at a reasonable fee.


You need to file a motion for default and to set because your spouse has not filed an answer to your complaint and has not participated in the divorce proceedings. Once that is done, you can represent yourself or hire an attorney to help you proceed to a final hearing.


You have a right to represent yourself if you truly are unable to retain an attorney, however you will be held to the same standard as an attorney in terms of following the rules of procedure and evidence. I would strongly advise you to at least speak to a lawyer in your area. Many people assume that they cannot afford to talk to an attorney. Some attorneys will provide a free or low cost initial consultation. I would strongly suggest you take advantage of a consultation before going it alone.

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