Let's try to end the year with another post involving practical tips for women seeking a divorce. (Of course, our family law firm also represents men in divorce cases, too!) Again, as we have emphasized many times before, we practice law only in the State of Georgia. You should always consult with your own divorce lawyer in your own state before making any decisions affecting your legal rights!
Let's talk about money. Here, at The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC, (a father and son family law firm located in Martinez, Georgia, just outside Augusta, Georgia), we sometimes get telephone calls from women who need to retain a divorce attorney, but they simply do not have the means to hire one. In some cases, they are stay-at-home moms who have limited access to money. What can they do? While there are no easy answers, and although we are not offering legal advice, here are some practical tips for women in this situation to consider:
1. Regularly put away small amounts of money in a "rainy day fund:" While this is not meant to encourage spouses to hide things from each other, in some situations, it might be appropriate for someone to set aside small amounts of money, e.g. their Christmas gift money, or change at the grocery store, for a "rainy day" need.
2. Talk with trusted family members or friends: This is no time to be bashful. This is one time in your life when you need to talk with family members or close friends who might be able and willing to help you out financially, both with legal expenses and with getting back on your feet financially.
3. Use your credit card: Most divorce lawyers accept credit cards (and maybe you can even let your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," pay the credit card bills later)!
4. Check with local social services agencies: While this won't directly help you with legal expenses, if you know that you and your kids' basic needs will be met, it might free up other funds to apply toward legal costs.
5. Check with womens' shelters: Not only do these fine charities offer protection from abusive spouses, like your own worthless spouse, "Sluggo," but also they sometimes may be able to refer you to law firms which will work with and help such women with the legal costs. Our law firm regularly gets such referrals and helps women in this manner. Some shelters will also even provide some financial assistance with legal costs for divorces or protective orders.
6. Consult with your own divorce lawyer: Sometimes, divorce lawyers can suggest other possible solutions to your problems, including possibly seeking attorney's fees from the other spouse, "Sluggo." Also, some family law firms occasionally accept pro bono cases, at no charge. Of course, each case is different, but it is worth calling and discussing your situation with divorce lawyers who offer, as we do, a free initial consultation.
Do you have any other ideas? I know that there are many people "out there" who are in bad, abusive situations. They are desperate and need help. Here's hoping that, in the new year, more people can find the help and encouragement that they need!