Divorce requires legal documents to be filed in order to make the divorce legal. There are often depositions and hearings held to determine how property will be split, and child custody is a major focus of divorce cases that involve children. Many people need legal representation during a divorce, but some people cannot afford an attorney.
Legal aid is free legal representation. Each state offers this type of legal assistance through a legal aid office. This assistance is specifically intended to help people who would not be able to afford an attorney on their own. There are qualifying criteria for receiving legal aid. People who are going through a divorce may be eligible for free legal representation, but they must evaluate these qualifications before determining whether they will be able to receive assistance.
Most states require people to have an income that is less than 125 percent of the federal poverty line. There are some exceptions to this rule in individual states, so people who are fearful that they will not qualify due to earning an income above this cutoff should still explore their options. The number of people living in the household will be used to determine this amount. Dependents of the divorcing spouse who requires legal assistance will generally be counted in the household if the spouse is the primary caregiver for the dependent.
Disabled individuals are usually eligible to receive legal assistance. Members of the military or veterans who are considered to be low-income individuals are often eligible as well, as are victims of abuse. Spouses who are pursuing a divorce in order to escape an abusive spouse often qualify for free representation during the divorce proceedings. This qualifying factor also applies to situations in which a child is being abused. Legal aid offices are established in each state to allow people to connect with attorneys. Representatives at these offices are able to ensure that individuals who are going through a divorce are referred to an attorney with extensive knowledge and experience in divorce and child custody cases.