Where you can get help if you can't afford to pay for an attorney in Hawaii
Resources are available to you to get help if you cannot afford to pay for an attorney. The resources below are based on my knowledge of the resources on Oahu, it may be different on the neighbor-islands in Hawaii.
Online Forms AvailableYou can go to the State of Hawaii Judiciary website and download forms for free that you can fill out to help start your case.
Or, you can also go to Law Help to use a free interactive program to generate your form. The program will ask you a series of questions, then, at the end, it will generate a document (known as a pleading document) that you can print out, sign, and then file with the court to start your case. NOTE: At the time of this writing, this program can only be used to generate pleadings for divorce cases.
Family Court Self-Help CentersAnother resource is the Family Court Self-Help Center. There is a Self-Help Center in every circuit court through the State of Hawaii. These Self-Help Centers are staffed with people who can provide you with information on what forms you need, provide you the necessary forms, and what steps you need to do to start your case. All of this is free.
TIMING TIP: The line can get long, as you might imagine, so be sure to set aside a couple hours if you plan to utilize this service.
Access to Justice RoomsThere are also Access to Justice Rooms available to help self-represented parties (also known as pro se litigants). You can meet with a volunteer attorney and receive free legal advice for your case. Information about each Access to Justice rooms can be found here.
NOTE: This is not a service for you to find an attorney. The attorney you meet with will not represent you in your case. They can let you know what to do, what to expect at your next hearing, and help you fill out your forms, but they will not be your attorney after the session ends.
LOCATION TIP: There are 2 Access to Justice Rooms on Oahu, but only the one located at the Kapolei Courthouse has family law attorneys. So, plan accordingly for a trip to Kapolei.
SCHEDULING TIP #1: The appointments are 30 minutes long. The program also only runs every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month from 11:30am-1:30pm (the last appointment is seen at 1:00pm).
SCHEDULING TIP #2: The Kapolei Access to Justice Room (KAJR) schedules appointments and it is best to schedule an appointment by calling the Self-Help Center line at 808-954-5290. You may leave a voicemail, however, the Self-Help Center cannot return non-local ("long-distance") numbers.
SCHEDULING TIP #3: While the KAJR accommodates walk-ins, it is done on a first-come, first-serve basis if a scheduled appointment does not show. If you plan to walk-in, plan to wait a few hours.
Hawaii State Bar Association Legal LineThe Hawaii State Bar Association provides a service every Wednesday evening from 6:00pm to 7:00pm where you speak with a volunteer attorney and receive legal advice. Call 808-537-1868.
Volunteer Legal Services HawaiiVolunteer Legal Services Hawaii (VLSH) is a non-profit organization that helps provide various legal services to individuals who cannot afford an attorney. Among the services provided by VLSH include an intake line you can call with questions, walk-in services at their office in downtown Honolulu, and various community clinics. For more information, please visit their website: Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii.
The Legal Aid Society of HawaiiThe Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is another non-profit organization that also helps provide various legal services to individuals who cannot afford an attorney. They also offer an intake line to call for help and clinics to help self-represented litigants. For more information, please visit their website: Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.