Legal aid said that they're not dealing with divorce cases right now so no one can't represent me in court. So what happens if I show up with no lawyer, will the court give me one? If not... how much is it for a lawyer to just represent me? This is an uncontested divorce.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You have to either hire a lawyer or represent yourself. There are no public defenders assigned to divorce cases. As far as the costs associated in representing clients in an uncontested divorce, costs can vary depending upon the surrounding facts and circumstances of the particular case in question.
Many attorneys bill an initial retainer which they charge hourly against that retainer or can bill a flat rate. Shop around to see the costs associated with hiring a lawyer. Even in an uncontested divorce, it is a time consuming process that can get complicated quickly.
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Family Law Attorney
If Legal Aid is not currently taking any more divorce cases, perhaps they could refer you to another similar organization that is accepting new clients? Otherwise, as mentioned, you have the choice of representing yourself or hiring an attorney. If you do choose to represent yourself, your jurisdiction may have a self-help clinic that could offer limited advice and information. Again, Legal Aid should be able to refer you.
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The court will not assign you an attorney to represent you in a divorce matter. To secure an attorney to represent your interest you may want to consult with a number of attorneys and find one that you are most comfortable with. Avvo is a fine place to find attorneys in your area with family law experience. You will find that the rate attorneys charge for services vary between a range of $200 a hour to $500 a hour.
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I agree with all the other answers. Even in an uncontested divorce case, there can be complications, and it is usually advisable to have a Property Settlement Agreement in place that can deal with post dissolution issues like debts, assets, pensions, etc.
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No you are not entitled to a " free lawyer" for a divorce case absent some extreme circumstance such as you not being mentally competent to represent yourself. Other than that I can think of no other instant where the court would consider appointing an attorney to represent you.
Real Estate Attorney
Contact your local county bar association and ask if it has an attorney referral program. I know Middlesex County has one and I believe part of that program is known as the reduced fee program. Attorneys participating in this reduced fee program agree to charge set rates, which are typically lower than rates clients would otherwise find. Note that these fees do not suggest that attorneys are over-charging; these reduced rates greatly cut into the attorneys' income and ability to support a law office. They offer the program as a way to provide legal services to a greater percentage of the population. You can view details of the Middlesex County program here: (copy and paste into your web browser) http://www.mcbalaw.com/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=5
Contact your county bar association and ask if it has a similar program. Whether it does or does not, your best course of action in any litigation, including divorce, is to retain your own attorney to represent your best interests. I wish you the best of luck.
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