I know a lot of my readers have the same issue. Coming up with a retainer for a lawyer is damn near impossible when you are paying through your ass in child support, expenses, life, etc.
During my separation, I always thought it was amazing how my ex could want so much money from me, as well as watching me pay for a lawyer and then get angry with me if I missed a payment to her. It goes back to hurting the kids. By her dragging this out in court, it was taking money away from me, in turn hurting my ability to pay for my kids, yet, she was quick to complain when I couldn’t make a payment to her.
Like many of you out there, I often wondered how the heck I was going to continue to do this. There is self-representing, which is muuuuuuch cheaper, but takes a lot of research. Research that unfortunately isn’t out there. If you’re a low income person, there is always legal aid services. If you aren’t familiar with Legal aid, its a legal service that is provided for you at an income based fee. If you have an income of over (I think) $50,000 you will not be eligible. So now you are back to the ol drawing board. Whats next??
As I mentioned before, you can self represent, or… you can get a lawyer. But there’s another option.. .a Hybrid option if you will.
Pay as you go- Self Rep.
What the heck is that you ask.. sounds made up?? Its not. Smaller legal firms, will allow you to pay as you go. So if you want to self represent, but are stuck and you don’t know how to file certain paper work, or you don’t know what your legal options are, you can pay for a visit, pick the lawyers brain, and get a good understanding of what you need to do.
Some lawyers will be annoyed by doing this over and over again, and will wonder why you just didn’t pay a retainer and have him/her look after your whole case for you. We all know that sometimes that’s not an option. So make sure you are up front in your first visit, and tell them that you are looking for a pay per visit advice type service from them.
My suggestion would be to do as much as you can by yourself. Get the paperwork you need lined up. The court house clerk will always help to make sure you are filing the proper paper work, but its on you to fill it out right, and make sure you are attaching the necessary forms.
Once you get all your forms, fill out your affidavit.. attach screen shots, documents, anything that helps prove your case and why you are filing whatever you may be filing, then call a legal firm, one that deals with collaborative family law, and ask to speak with someone that you could hire to look over your paperwork. Chances are, you are going to get referred to a junior lawyer. Who cares don’t be scared off by that. They know enough to be able to look over what you have and what you don’t have, and be able to advise you what you may or may not need.
Obviously this is still going to cost you money, but compared the 1000-5000 you will need to pay for a retainer, this is nothing.
Thats it.. Simple right.
Going forward, you will be doing it by yourself, but you will also have a lawyer in your corner that will know your case, and be able to properly advise you.. for a much smaller fee.
I really hope this helps anyone that thinks you are stuck. You aren’t. I wish fathers like Freddie Dalton knew of the options that were available , and that you don’t have to spend thousands to fight for your kids. Sure you have to spend some time and energy to do it yourself, but that’s a price well spent, and a price you can afford to make sure you get your deserved time with your kids.
Today was just a short post… it was just something on my mind that I wanted to chat about and let you know that there ARE options.
If you guys have any questions at all, please dont hesitate to comment, or email me. I’m not doing this blog for my gain…. this is for you guys.
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