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Im being sued for divorce and I cant afford a lawyer. How do I obtain what is rightfully entitled to me?

Cleveland, OH |

We have 3 children together under the age of 18. Child support has already been enforced. My spouse knows I cant afford an attorney and I am sure he is going to deny trying to pay alimony.

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Attorney answers 4


You should consult an attorney to see if your spouse can be ordered to pay your attorney's fees.


Usually both parties' attorney fees are paid from marital assets - if he can afford an attorney, the judge will normally see that marital funds are used to pay your attorney too.

Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.73(A) says this: In an action for divorce, dissolution, legal separation, or annulment of marriage or an appeal of that action, a court may award all or part of reasonable attorney's fees and litigation expenses to either party if the court finds the award equitable. In determining whether an award is equitable, the court may consider the parties' marital assets and income, any award of temporary spousal support, the conduct of the parties, and any other relevant factors the court deems appropriate.

You can reach Martin D. Koop at (419) 447-2521 or Martin Koop is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Ohio. Answering your questions does not create an attorney-client relationship between anybody and Martin D. Koop. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts in your case, before you take any actions or make any choices that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have formally hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your legal matter.


You have options. First, the court can award you attorney fees to level the playing field. You can also talk to attorneys that do divorce work and see if you can find one that will work with you on fees. But see the attorneys, don't talk on the phone. You want to make sure you can establish a rapport with the attorney that ends up representing you. At least go in and talk though. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation.

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I know Legal Aid can't take every case, but it may be worth a try. Also, contact the local bar association. Some bar associations require members to do pro bono work in order to be on their referral lists. While it may be possible to have attorney fees awarded, the problem is that attorneys require their retainer fee upfront. Domestic attorneys cannot work on a contingency fee. Keep calling to see if any attorneys will offer payment plans. Contact family to see if they will loan you money for an attorney.