You realize that you need an attorney. But, you can’t afford one. What should you do? For some of you there is help available. However, the resources are reserved for those who really need the assistance. Usually that means low income and domestic violence and/or issues of child abuse.
In Fort Worth you will find a branch office for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, near the Family Law Center. On the LANWT website you will find information explaining how to apply. You should schedule an appointment prior to visiting the office and there are forms you should fill out to take with you.
Because of the staggering number of applications they receive each year they are required to prioritize based on the resources available at each office. For family court cases, this unfortunately means there are usually violence/abuse issues.
If you are in or have recently been in a shelter for any reason, check with their staff. They may have resources or be able to refer you to those who can help. Safe Haven of Tarrant County offers two emergency shelters; one in Fort Worth and one in Arlington. They also offer legal services for those who may need them, but again you must meet certain criteria.
If you belong to a church or other place of worship, you may want to check there. Some have resources or attorneys to help their members in need. Or, they may be able offer other suggestions.
One thing that needs to be stressed here. Check out the criteria as best you can before applying. If you know you should fit within their guidelines then apply. But, remember, they have many people applying who may be worse off than you, so this is still not a guarantee you will be accepted. If you’re really uncertain but feel you may qualify, then it’s okay to apply.
However, if you know you won’t qualify, then please do not waste the time of the agencies trying to help those in need.
Most importantly, do not lie or even embellish your situation. If you do and they take your case, your credibility will be completely ruined once you get to court and the allegations you’ve made to obtain representation are proven false. You will have lost even before you’ve gotten started.
It’s better to go in without an attorney than lie to get one. Even more importantly, you’ve taken resources from someone that needs and deserves them.
*This article is not intended to offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney.*