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Low income divorce help/Domestic violence survivor

Cupertino, CA |

I escaped a physically, mentally, emotionally & sexually abusive marriage and am now ready for divorce. I am no longer in the abusive relationship, i escaped 2 years ago and have been afraid to file for divorce for many reasons; fear of retribution. I have been in therapy since i left the relationship and have now regained alot of my former self back.

My concerns as a previously battered woman, would be anonymity (regarding ex husband) and affordablility. I am currently unemployed, and unable to hold full time work do to PTSD and Gastrointestinal issues from the abuse and am unable to acquire legal help on my own.

Are there program for Free/Income Qualified - Domestic Violence Divorce assistance/representation? Or perhaps a specific person you may know of?

Thank you in advance.

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Attorney answers 4


I am sorry you have gone through such a difficult time, there are many legal aid office throughout your state. You should start by working with one or the court and filing an action, the court is there to protect you and your rights. Take care and I hope that things work out for you and wish you well.

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First, you should inquire with the County Clerk at the Courthouse and ask if they have a program that provides legal assistance for low income individuals. These would be volunteer attorneys from Santa Clara County who donate their time and assist individuals like yourself in filing out the paperwork and providing you the necessary guidance. If this is unavailable then call the Santa Clara County Bar Association and ask them if they have a low/no fee Family Law panel.

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It is a huge step that you have decided to file for divorce. Keep in mind that the court has different ways of protecting domestic violence victims, especially if you have a history of documented domestic violence and evidence that you suffer from PTSD, etc. If you opt to do it on your own, there are self help departments in the courthouses where you can fill out your own paperwork. However, you will probably qualify for free legal help from different Bay Area organizations. If you live in Cupertino, you should call the Santa Clara Bar Association (408) 287-2557 to ask about their pro bono attorneys. You should also call Bay Area Legal Aid 510-663-4755. You really have done the hardest thing by leaving and breaking the chain of abuse-- hopefully the legal community can help you through this. Good luck with everything!

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This is a local legal aid office in Santa Clara County.
Address: 2 West Santa Clara Street, 8th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113
Legal Assistance Line: (408) 850-7066
Toll Free Number: (800) 551-5554

Another is the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County
Main Phone: (408) 998-5200

If you dont qualify for either you can contact the Bar Association for an attorney referral - some will do pro bono (free) and other's low cost.

If neither one can help you, my firm charges provides low cost assistance, charging on a sliding scale based on income and family size.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents. My firm is All for the Family Legal Clinic, Inc. a nonprofit public benefit corporation that charges on a sliding scale based on income and family size. For a consultation contact us 510-999-7732 or at our website