The best way to get help is to hire a qualified divorce lawyer. If you do not want to hire a lawyer, or can’t afford one, consider at least a consultation with a few divorce lawyers, to get a professional opinions about your case.
Consultations are usually either free or low-cost. A consultation with a lawyer can often save you time and money in the long run. A lawyer can help you decide if any court action should be taken, and if so, how best to go forward. A lawyer can give you confidential (private) advice and help you figure out how to present and argue your case.
Some lawyers offer “unbundled” or “discrete task” services, meaning you hire them to do only certain parts of the case, such as preparing court forms, appearing in court, negotiating agreements, etc. In this type of arrangement, you do the remaining work. Access self-representing support here.
Most people need at least some information and help in order to be able to pick the right type of court case to start, choose appropriate court forms and procedures, and decide how to present certain issues to the court.
You are not required to have a lawyer. You may hire a divorce lawyer to represent you in your case, or you may represent yourself. If you represent yourself, the court will expect you to meet the same standard as it does a lawyer. You will be expected to know how to present your case, what the rules and procedures are, etc.
The judge and court clerks cannot help you argue or present your case, or tell you what you need to do next. If you hire a lawyer, you must pay all of their fees. The court cannot give you a free lawyer in family law cases.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may visit the family law facilitator. Each court has a family law facilitator, and they are lawyers who can assist you with child support, spousal support and health insurance issues.
The facilitators cannot represent you or provide you with any confidential advice, but they can explain laws and procedures and help you choose and complete the right court forms. Facilitators can also tell you about useful community resources, including nonprofit groups that assist parents and lawyer referral services. Some facilitators provide services through workshops, others through one-on-one meetings. Some facilitators provide additional services such as assistance with custody/visitation, divorce and parentage issues.