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Pro Bono Divorce Lawyer: Do You Qualify For One?

Believe it or not, pro bono divorce lawyers do exist. You can most certainly get such a lawyer as long as your case meets the criteria. Pro bono is a term that refers to obtaining the services of a legal expert at a discount rate. Some may believe that couples should not have access to pro bono divorce lawyers since divorce is a voluntary choice, and criminal proceedings usually aren’t involved. However, his is simply not accurate.


You can access to a pro bono divorce lawyer if you can present enough evidence to show that abuse was a part of the marriage. Abuse can either be physical, sexual, or verbal in nature; it can can include children as well. If you have such evidence, then should quality. Examples of evidence could include a 911 call, or the police paying a visit to your home because of a phone call reporting abuse. Other forms of evidence include medical reports documenting physical harm such as severe bruising, broken bones, or burns. The doctors must verify that abuse could have been the only cause.


If a person earns less income than a certain bracket, then this is another way to qualify for a pro bono divorce lawyer. The guidelines are based on the state you live in. But if your earnings are indeed below requirements, then you might be eligible.

Some people may view a pro bono lawyer as a way to save money. But keep in mind that you must meet certain criteria in most cases to get free or reduced legal assistance, it’s not accessible to everyone. Also, these lawyers tend to be inexperienced or have a lot of other cases they work on at once. So this should be viewed as a last resort.

Should you have consistent income but are experiencing financial difficulty, then a sliding scale divorce lawyer could be a possibility. They charge based on your level of income, which could result in a good deal of savings on your end.

If the above options are not available to you, then another possible solution for obtaining great representation is to sell an asset or take out a loan. However, you should be cautious about doing so unless you are extremely confident that they case will go your way. In this scenario, you will be awarded for the damages and use that money towards paying off the loan.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a very strong case, then selling one of your assets to get a lawyer could end up making your situation far worse.

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37 Responses to Pro Bono Divorce Lawyer: Do You Qualify For One?

  • Angie says:

    I had to leave my home and move across country to get away from an abusive husband–I have not been able to get a job so therefore I am unemployed–My husband and his lawyer have dragged out proceedings for over a year–I finally have a settlement conference set in August. I will have to go back from Florida to California to settle a probably unfair settlement due to his total disregard for me. Please help me with any advice.

  • William Langley says:

    Hi Angie, I am really sorry to hear about your situation. I wish I could help you, but I really don’t know the specifics of the case. All you can really do anyway is trust the lawyer you have will do a good job. I wish you all the best.

  • Lisa Rowland says:

    my husband has been cheating on me for 8 months. He emotionally and verbally abused me in front of my child for years. Im now living in a womens domestic abuse shelter with my daughter.He just moved into his girlfriends home and she has a 16yr old son and we have a 14yr old daughter. Im very concerned about that living situation because he wants joint custody when we divorce. right now he only gets her on the weekends.Please help with some advice.

  • Lisa Rowland says:

    my husband has been openly cheating on me for 8 months. We have been married for 20 yrs and ive been a stay at home mom for the past 8 yrs.can i get alimony from him?

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Lisa- I’m terribly sorry to hear that you have been treated that way.. Keep in mind that custody is based on what’s best for the children. Generally, that favors joint custody because it keeps both parents involved in the child’s life.

      In order to get sole custody, your representation would have to prove that your husband is unfit to care for your children. However, it’s getting tougher and tougher to get sole custody in most states.

      As far as whether you will get alimony or not: this depends on how economically dependent you are on him. If you have been dependent on him for most of your marriage, then you stand a good chance of getting alimony. But this varies from state to state.

      Since you are going to get a contested divorce, you will need to get an attorney. He or she can you the advice you need, as they will know all the details of your situation.

      All the best,


  • tim flier says:

    need a pro Bono divorce lawyer in jefferson county mo i am currently unemployed and my wife is haveing an affair with another man and moving in with him so im homeless living with family members

  • stacie cobb says:

    I need an someone to represent me or walk me thru what i need to do I am trying to get a divorce I have not had the money to retain an atterny during my sepertion from him because i feared for my safty I could not evern live in my own home then he chose to sell it to ower oldest daughter and is now ingaged to be married and just wants me to hurry and file I dont feel what he has done is legal can you help

    • William Langley says:

      I am terribly sorry for not responding earlier, and I’m also sad to hear about your situation.

      I believe that your spouse can buy a home without your consent, but can’t legally sell it without your signature. So you certainly have case there.

      Only you know what’s best, but my advice would be to open the lines of communication with your husband and try to work this out.

      I don’t necessarily mean get back together, thought that would be the best case scenario. Mediation is a great option for those who can’t afford attorneys. It still does cost some money, but far less than going to court.

      I hope that helps.

  • Patty Dennis says:

    I am an army spouse. My husband had an affair and fathered a child with another soldier while deployed in Korea. We attempted to reconcile, however he was unable to remain faithful and fathered a second child with a German national while we were stationed in Germany. We have been married for 8 years, it will be 9 years in July. I left my government job of ten years in the states to move to Germany and have since not been able to find a job earning even a third of what I was making. I am trying to rebuild from scratch since I had to use all of my savings and paid off a huge credit card debt while living in Germany. We don’t have any kids together, the only thing we have together is a house that we are renting out. I would like to divorce him as soon as possible, but I was wondering if I qualified for any type of alimony until I am able to get back on my feet. Any advice or insight is greatly appreciated.

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Patty-

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am not familiar with German law, but I would imagine that it depends on how much he is earning. In most cases, the dependent spouse is in line for alimony.

      The only way to know for sure however is to contact a lawyer.

  • Patty Dennis says:

    Additional information: We were married in the state of Georgia and still use Georgia as our permanent residence.

  • Saxton Lee Harbin says:

    My wife had a baby prior to us getting married, she said the baby was mine, but my name is not on birth certificate, now she says he is not mine, but refuses to get DNA, I already went and got my DNA tested. Now she is pregnant again, and says it may not be mine, she has tested positive for illegal drugs at the Doctors office, and has her step father attack and assult me, I filed charges with Hallettsville PD, I want DNA on both children to see if they are mine, and I want a divorce from her, but I have Lou Greikes and I live in Govt housing and recieve disability check wich is very low, can I get pro bonno help please

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Saxton-

      You can buy home paternity tests that are probably less expensive. I don’t know much about them though, so I can’t really help you much there.

      If you really want a divorce, my advice is to go the uncontested or mediation route. These are the least expensive way to get divorced since you won’t have to hire an attorney for either one.

  • My Ex wife is still getting Alimoney from me at 1000.00 per month i can not afford this kind of alimony , she keeps taking me back to court time after time , i keep asking the Judge if they would lower this but the judge will not do anything to lower the alimony , my ex has played the system , she gets social securty and she claims that she is disabled which i have video of this lady up walking in to bars and resturants when she shows up in court in a wheel chair, she does not use a cane or a walker to get around but she will show up in court in a wheel chair so the will feel sorry for her.

    • William Langley says:

      Getting a reduction in alimony is tough. The only way it happens is if you can show that your circumstances have changed to a degree where paying the current amount is nearly impossible. Though, you could keep requesting it in hopes that she finally gives in.

  • Kara Van Gilson says:

    I’ve been trying to get divorced from my husband for 17 years. We were married in 1987 and had 3 children. We seperated in 1994. We were both in the military at the time. I got out after 10 years of service in Feb 1994. I filed for divorce in 1995. My husband, who was still in the military, went overseas and was told that he didn’t have to abide by the summons due to the “solders and sailors act?”. So he went overseas and I was put on hold. I sent him more papers 2 months ago to hopefully get this done. I still have not seen any response from him. What can I do? I cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. That’s what’s been the biggest obstical. Our children are now, 21, 23, 24. I want this divorce and am at my whits end. He has since retired from the military. Can I get past child support, spousal support? He refused to give my a Dependant ID Card when I left the military. I just had to survive for the children. What can I do?? Thank you for your time.

    • William Langley says:

      I assume then that he is still out of the country? Well, if he is not contesting it, then you should be able to get a divorce without hiring a lawyer. I believe you just have to show that you sent the papers to him. Consult a free legal service in your area if available. Legal Zoom is a service that provides divorce papers for a fee.

      If you don’t hire a lawyer, then you won’t get any spousal support. Child support is unlikely anyway due to their age.

  • Tarina says:

    Hi Im so sick of the mental abuse I suffer from my husband he refuses to get help and I can nolonger put others thru all the fights we have he tells me on a daily basis how fat and ugly and worthless I am and I am just sick of crying I have many witnesses to the mental abuse I suffer I have no money or a job any more so please I need help.

    • William Langley says:

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. My advice- find friends or family that will support and help you get a divorce, if that is what you want. Getting a divorce from an abusive husband is tough without having a lawyer, though you may qualify for free legal service because of your financial situation.

  • audrey gulliford says:

    hi, I have been married for 11-1/2 years we have been separated for 2 years and 8 months. we have a 13 year old son. I am unable to work because of an auto accident I was in in 2006. a-lot of mental abuse he has thrown things at me in front of my children,just a little part of what is going on. there is more much more. this is my last resort I would not ask for help if I didn’t need it. in a desparate situation. please I need your help!! audrey gulliford.

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Audrey-

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. I always recommend that married couples do everything they possibly can to keep their marriage going. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This would be best for all parties involved, especially for your 13 year old son.

      Save My Marriage Today is a product/service that many have used to repair their marriage.

  • bob westbrook jr. says:

    I am on disability I sea paying all the bills . She
    moved our son and his family in with us , then her sister got a divorce , lost her home needed to move her mom back with, but had to get me out no more room. My wife choked me , hit in the the neck with trash can, kicked me in the groin. I moved out her mom moved in next day, in my bedroom. We already took care of her for 20 years

    • William Langley says:

      If you want your life to change Bob, then you must change. Take responsibility for your situation and create the circumstances that you desire. If you don’t want her mom around, then take action. If you don’t like the way your wife is treating you, then take action. That of course doesn’t mean to hit her back. But there are problems certainly that you need to face and solve.

      Why is your wife treating you this way? There has to be a reason. We can’t control others and make them behave the way we want to. But what we do have control over is ourselves.

      Do some introspection and think about what you want your life to be. Hold on to that ideal, and start working towards it.

  • Shaun Anderson says:

    For the four years I have been married, my husband has been unfaithful. I’m Tired and ready to go. He is consistently underemployed. My income isn’t so great either. What is my next step. Four years is too long. THe only way I might stay is if we undergo marriage counseling, and If he sees a therapist for Sexual Addiction.

    • William Langley says:

      Shaun, my advice is to do all you can to save your marriage. Exhaust all possibilities. Once you are divorced, there really is no going back. You married him for a reason, so don’t give up. You won’t regret it.

  • Nancy says:

    I have been married for 42 years & I have fallen out of love with my husband. We have had marriage counseling & I still feel the same. I am also in love with someone else, even tho he is in prison. I have loved him for 6 years. I love my husband, but I’m not in love with him.

    • William Langley says:

      I am not married, but I hear all the time that married couples don’t stay in love forever. You still love your husband, and that is what matters the most. I know that being “in love” is more exciting, but you made a commitment to your husband that you would be with him forever.

      You situation is pretty typical. I think most married couples go through stages where the relationship gets stale. That might be one reason why divorce rates are so high. Couples view no longer being in love as a reason to get divorced. But I don’t believe that is a valid reason.

      My advice is to open the lines of communication. What is it about your relationship that you aren’t satisfied with? What changes would you like to see? What can be done to spice up your marriage?

  • Billie Mongiovi says:

    I have been seperated from my husband for 17 years. I have had retraining orders against him in the past but learned the hard way they do no good. I have learned how to keep from being found at least where I live anyway. We have two girls. Both are almost grown I have kept safe which has been my goal. I want a divorce. I need a divorce for my sanity. I belong to him He doesnt believe in divorce and it isnt happening. The last time I seen him I told him its ok he doesnt have to believe in divorce I do and I want one. He said my kids are grown time to come home. I dont want to. I need my sanity and freedom. Is there any help for me? You have to know this man in the past almost killed me and my chilldren please just tell me how to gety this divorce so I can be free. To some extent.

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Billie-

      You can file for a divorce whether he wants it or not. There is a time frame for the other party to respond to a petition. If he doesn’t respond within that time frame, then the divorce becomes official. If he contests it, then you will have to go to court.

      If you want a divorce, then you can make it happen.

  • Billie Mongiovi says:

    What do I do how do I began the paper work I dont have the money for an attorney I just lost my job can I do this on my own?

  • Kamberly Gochenouer says:

    I have been married over a year. My husband and I separated in January he said he didn’t want a divorce and that our marriage was fixable that we just needed a break from each other. A month later I found out that he was seeing a lawyer and I was served with divorce papers in March. My husband has been having an affair, the woman he is now in a relationship with, is the woman he cheated on me with the first month of our marriage. I have been out of work since September 2011 and have not been able to find employment. I have done some the legal paperwork myself. I have filled an answer and I am seeking spousal support. I am also wanting to sue my husband for emotional and mental abuse, breach of contract and adultry. I am also wanting to sue his now girlfriend. This is a woman I have told myself to back off not to contact my husband and I had also told my husband the samething about her. I feel that she knowingly went after a newly married man. I also believe that she is the reason why my husband is rushing this divorce. Like my husband, I want her to be held accountable. We were happy and perfectly fine until she came into the picture. I knw this can be done and I have been researching cases like this where the third party of a marriage/relationship has been sued. This is what I am wanting to do and I am very serious about this. I need help, I need a lawyer ASAP! I can not afford a lawyer.

    • William Langley says:

      Hi Kamberly,

      Keep in mind though that your husband had a choice, he didn’t have to cheat. I know you have resentment towards her, but your husband could have turned her way. Have you found out why he cheated on you?

      Because you are out of work, you could qualify for free or reduced legal assistance. The best answer I can give you is to start looking online and in the phone book. Check with the bar association and courthouse in your area. Ask around if you happen to know anyone who has gone through the divorce process before.

  • tiffany says:

    I have been married 2 years we have 2 child’s it just not working we have tried everything what step should I take next

    • William Langley says:

      Your best bet would be to settle the divorce between you and your husband, as opposed to hiring lawyers and going to court. Legal Zoom is an online service that may be helpful.

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