Life as a single parent can be hard. It’s emotionally and physically draining, and when you can’t afford to seek legal advice in moments of uncertainty, it can put a strain on your finances too. There are some situations which certainly require legal help and advice, but when your budget is tight and you can’t afford it straight off the bat, there are other options to consider before you need to bite the bullet and visit a legal advisor. Just by having the knowledge you need about a specific issue and the legalities involved will empower your rights. Here are a few options to consider when looking for free legal information:
- Your local library
Educating yourself about the law is the first step to knowing what your rights are as a single parent, and how to approach the legal situation you might find yourself in. Your local library is a wonderful opportunity to source some free legal advice on your current situation. Be it child custody, visitation rights, parental rights or any other topic relatable, there will be plenty of books to assist you in a particular case.
Look at legal aid and pro bono options
Depending on your financial situation, options such as legal aid and pro bono are there to help people who cannot afford legal fees. Do your research on these establishments in your area and then try and apply for a particular service. Many government-supported legal advisors have income cut-offs for clients, therefore you will need to earn below a specific amount to be able to qualify. And, if you do qualify, they’ll be able to offer you information about your case, help you prepare for a case and more.
While it might sound like a time-consuming process, this is a great opportunity for locals to reach out to communities. You might even connect with someone who is willing to represent you in court as their pro bono client, either for a reduced fee or free of charge. There might be a legal advisor who will resonate with your story and current situation, you never know. Your case might really touch someone’s heart and they’ll become more willing to assist you for free out of kindness.
- Nearby law schools
Try speaking to a student who is in their final years of studying to become a lawyer. Many law schools offer the opportunity for people in connect and engage with their law students because it’s beneficial for both parties. You get to learn more about the laws and they get to practise on you. While they might not be qualified enough to give you the exact advice that you need, they will certainly be able to guide you on the information they know around a particular topic, giving you peace of mind on where to go next.
- Free legal consultations with someone you know
As they say, life is a lot easier when you know people who can help. If you have a family member or friend who is experienced and knows a lot about the law, try and set up an appointment with them. Even if you don’t know someone, search through your social media feeds to find someone who could potentially be of assistance to you. If you do find someone who is willing to meet with you, it might be helpful to map out a set of questions of all the things you’re unsure of, and they can answer them for you.
If the situation requires you to go to court, one of the easiest methods is that you simply represent yourself. If you do your research and you can back up your statements with legal facts, this could save you plenty of money in legal bills that might put you in debt. If you do have the opportunity to seek legal advice, be it a law student or legal aid, you’ll be able to practise on them and prepare yourself for the big event. These professional and experienced individuals will be able to guide you in your court case.
Having to go these routes are never easy, but with today’s technology, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to access free resources and information to get what you need. In the beginning, it might feel unattainable, but don’t just give up because you can’t afford legal fees. There are many online platforms, people and communities which would be happy to help you. It’s all about finding the right people who understand your story and the struggles of finding justice as a single parent.
Some additional advice would be to start an emergency fund and try and save a small amount of money for any fees you might encounter along the way. Even though it might seem impossible to do, the long-term investment will be worth it. It will also give you the opportunity to stand up for your rights.