The Law Center

5 Steps to take before Contacting a Family Law Attorney

The worst thing about court can be the attorney fees.  For instance, legal fees in custody and divorce court is a common cause of bankruptcy.

There are many things that you can do and steps that you can take to reduce your legal fees before you call an attorney.

The first thing to do before contacting a private attorney is determine whether you’re entitled to a free lawyer.  Call Community Legal Services or your local Legal Aid office.   

They will ask you for proof of income.  If it’s under a certain amount or if you are unemployed with few or no assets, you can be entitled to a free lawyer.  For example, if you and one dependent are living on less than $20,000 per year, you can qualify.  The more dependents you have, the more you can make and still quality. 

The second place to look is your local County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Services.   When you call, explain your financial need, your inability to pay a large retainer, and request an attorney who is willing to accept clients who are unable to afford full rates.   Also consider community groups, religious organizations, or non-profits for referrals for affordable legal services.

A third resource for free, helpful legal information is the internet.   Go to and click the link for your state.  For my state of PA, the website is   It provides free resources such as  forms, informational videos, and other helpful information related to your legal issue.  The goal of that website is to empower you to help yourself without an attorney.

A fourth resource is law schools.   Check the local law schools in your state or county and you can often find clinics that assist individuals in family law, landlord tenant, bankruptcy, landlord tenant, Social Security, and other areas of law.   You can get help from an experienced law student who’s approaching graduation and has an experienced lawyer supervising the student.  This can dramatically reduce your dependency on a private lawyer.

A Fifth source of free information is other videos on my YouTube channel, The Law Center.   I’ve indexed the videos by topic and issue of law.  Browse, surf the site, and watch the video that applies to your legal issue.  The goal is to provide as much free information so you need less help from a lawyer, and therefore you reduce your legal fees.

Make sure you try these resources before you contact a private attorney.  If you don’t qualify for free a free lawyer or law student, you still might find helpful information on the internet that makes you more self sufficient and reduces your legal expenses.

For legal representation for your family law claim, click the “Request Consultation” button.