Don't go this on your own. Given the length of your marriage and the fact that you're not working, you have very real rights, including alimony (spousal support).
Borrow some money or put it on a credit card, if you must, but at least consult with a good divorce lawyer. The lawyer can draft a motion requesting that your your husband be ordered to pay attorneys' fees and costs. If your financial statement shows that you have no income and a lot of expenses, the judge may order your husband to pay some or all of the legal bills.
It is very important that you understand your rights in a divorce case and you should make every effort to consult with an attorney. If you do not currently have the funds to hire an attorney there are multiple options available to you.
Some attorneys will accept credit cards or you can borrow money from family or friends to hire an attorney. It may also be possible to obtain an order from the Court ordering your Husband to pay for your attorney upon the filing of a Motion for Attorney's Fees. If you need assistance preparing such a Motion, you should call your local Probate & Family Court because many of them have a Lawyer of the Day program, where a volunteer lawyer spends the day at the courthouse answering questions for free and helping parties fill out forms.
If you are on speaking terms with your husband then you could also ask him to give you the money to hire an attorney. I have often found that it costs my clients more money if the other side does not have an attorney, because people without attorneys find it very difficult to settle a case due to their lack of knowledge. You could explain to him that overall the process will go faster and probably cheaper if he helps you hire an attorney.
Alternatively, although you may have been rejected by one legal aid service there are multiple services and you may want to contact others. To find legal aid services in Massachusetts visit: http://www.masslegalservices.org/findlegalaid .
Finally, many attorneys offer a free or cheap initial consultation. Speaking with an attorney would at least help you gain some information about your rights and other potential ways for you to raise the funds to hire an attorney. You can ask a friend to drive you to an attorney's office for a consultation or to the Courthouse to speak to the Lawyer of the Day. At least then you will have more information about how you can or should proceed.
Call your local bar association (call information in the county seat of the county where you and your husband reside) and ask for a referral to a divorce attorney. You should be able to get a free or very inexpensive consultation.
Ask the lawyer if MA has a law that makes it possible for you to get an advance against your share of the marital estate so that you can hire a lawyer of the same caliber as your husband's lawyer. Do not allow yourself to be bullied by your husband or by his family's willingness to subsidize him.
You may not need to seek the services of a free lawyer. There might be some way under MA law that you can even the playing field.
Hi. As always I would need to know more facts to properly give an opinion. A few ideas. Are you in mediation or litigation? If in mediation the mediator is there for both of you. Tell the mediator that you need help on the education piece as to what a fair settlement would be. The mediator should make sure both parties are on equal ground so they can examine their options. Other professionals may need to be brought in. Perhaps your husband will see it as a fair way to proceed and pay for these expenses. It is certainly less money than litigation.
If he is headed to litigate then your attorney may be able to ask for fees from your husband if it is available to pay for an attorney for you (at least partial)
You have a long term marriage so have many rights so please talk to someone. You may be able to hire an attorney for reduced fees. Call the Mass bar association referral reduced fee panel. It sounds like you need legal and financial guidance.
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