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I want a divorce but i don't have the money to hire a lawyer,so how can i start a divorce?

Seattle, WA |

I am a stay at home mom with 2 kids and i have been married for 5 years.My husband controls everything financially,we do not have a joint account,i cannot get a credit card because of insufficient credit history(i'm a naturalised immigrant),the only money i have is the allowance he gives me each month.Everything from cars to the house title are in his name.He is mentally and emotional abusive,he has a safe where he locks our children documents and i don't have the combination no for it.A few days ago,because of a fight he also cancelled the tel service and the internet and took my car.i want a divorce but i don't have the money to hire a lawyer,so how can i start a divorce?Could my spouse be required to pay the attorney fees?

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Attorney answers 3


You could represent yourself pro se. You could contact a local legal aid office for help. Try contacting your state bar association for help.


In WA, in a family law proceeding, the court can order the spouse with ready access to money to release some of that money to the spouse without money.

If your husband has money but is not sharing it with you, you likely can find attorneys who will take your case. Upon filing a petition for dissolution of marriage, the attorney will promptly ask the court for an ex parte order or a temporary order that will require the husband to release some money to you.

The problem you will face is convincing the attorney that your husband has money. If you have copies of the tax returns or your husband's paystub, that should show your husband's ability to pay some or all of your legal expenses.

There are organizations that help low income people with family law proceedings. Unfortunately, there are way more persons needing help than what the organization can do. So, usually, only persons facing severe domestic violence situations likely will get help quickly.

You can find the organizations using WA LawHelp at . WA LawHelp also provides detailed self-help guides on many legal topics.


In addition to the advice given by Mr. Islieb and Mr. Nguyen, I would add that there are several local neighborhood legal clinics in King County that provide a free half-hour consultation with an attorney. Call (206) 267-7070 to schedule an appointment.

Also, you may try contacting the King County Family Law Facilitators. The facilitators do not provide legal advice, but they can generally review forms and give basic information on court rules and where to file forms. It is suggested that you call and schedule an appointment [Seattle- (206) 296-9092 or Kent (206) 205-2526] if you wish to receive a consultation.

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