It can be an extremely dispiriting situation to find yourself in if you realize that you need legal representation but lack the funds to afford it. That does not mean that you have the funds to afford it but would prefer to spend money elsewhere. That also does not mean that you lack the funds to afford the attorney or type of representation that you would like ideally. Rather, I'm envisioning a situation where you lack completely the money to afford any type of representation on any level for your family law case. This can be a frustrating and disheartening situation, to say the least.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand the type of position that you were in. Certainly, our attorneys represent people from across our community who find themselves in very different situations financially. While our office charges clients for representation we do so as affordably as possible bearing in mind the budgets of Texans and their families. We want to be able to serve as many people in our community as possible while maintaining a high degree of excellence in advocacy for our clients.
Fortunately, many publicly minded legal aid organizations can provide you with representation if you qualify. Most importantly, you need to be able to seek out these organizations. In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to discuss why representation from an attorney can be important in your family law case and where you can obtain legal assistance in our community on a free or close to free basis.
Why is legal representation important in a family law case?
You may be operating under the assumption that you must hire an attorney for your family law case. This is not true. There is no requirement in the Texas family code that you need to hire an attorney to represent you in your case. However, there are two situations in which I certainly recommend people that they highly consider hiring an attorney for their case. While there are certainly several situations where you are case may benefit from representation these are two of the broader categories where you would stand to benefit from having a lawyer in your corner.
The first would be any situation in which you have minor children before the court. This could be the case both in a Divorce or child custody case. The reality of the situation when you have children before the court is that there are family and financial matters that are important for you now and in the future. As a result, you are putting a lot on the line in moving forward without an attorney. When it comes to your relationship with your children that is a leap of faith that you may not be willing to take. Representation from an attorney can be a tremendous advantage for you and your family.
The other situation where you may want to especially consider hiring an attorney to represent you is regarding a divorce where you do not have children but have property involved. Financial matters- such as the division of retirement benefits or the sale of the family home- can have profound impacts on your family for years to come. Since there are liability issues that come into being for selling a home or dividing a retirement account you may want to consider hiring someone to assist you in performing those steps.
However, I realize that these sorts of "recommendations" or different perspectives can be difficult to consider due to your financial circumstances. There may be several areas of your life where you would like to perform some sort of activity but are being held back due to your finances. Losing a job, having your hours reduced due to COVID, or even seeing your job outsourced beyond Texas could be reasons why you have lost income and have limited ability to hire an attorney for your family law case.
Another issue that I see people run into when they do not have legal representation is that you may have problems getting your case off the ground. By this, I mean that you could experience some delays in having your case filed with the appropriate family court. Believe it or not, one of the most expensive parts of a legal case is having your case sit with no movement for extended periods. This increases the likelihood that your case will be prolonged and that mistakes can be made during that time. This is something that you want to avoid if possible. Sometimes delays are inevitable. However, by hiring a family law attorney you know that your case will move along to the process as opposed to there being some questions of this where you to handle the case on your own.
What are the focuses of legal aid organizations?
Unfortunately, low-income persons typically have limited access to legal advice and counsel compared to others. In many cases, their ability to afford representation may not be much less than others. Perhaps the starkest difference between low-income in middle- or higher-income persons is simply access to information in the knowledge that representation is available to them. As a result, the quality representation in the experience of lower-income people in family court could be impacted by this.
However, I hope that free to access information on our blog can be a part of the process where we see lower-income Texans gaining a basic understanding of the law, their rights, and options available to them in terms of representation in Texas family cases. If you are facing down a family law case but believes that your options are limited in representation I want you to know that there are options for you to take advantage of, potentially. However, having information is the first place to go in being able to decide on who in what can help you and your family in a family law case.
Legal aid societies in Texas provide educational materials to you and your Co-parent to help you enhance your parenting skills. I have found that, especially in Child Protective Services cases, lower-income persons typically are the most impacted by legal cases like these due to their inability to Ford basic upkeep of their home, sufficient food in their refrigerator, and oftentimes a supervising parent at home. The informational material provided by legal aid societies can be eye-opening to low-income persons especially when it comes to raising children. There are ways to mitigate the factors of poverty or being low income when it comes to raising kids. However, having the educational material available to you is a vital part of being able to take advantage of those resources.
There are also various lawyer referral services available to you as a low-income tax. The Texas Rio Grande legal society, State Bar of Texas, and even the Houston Bar Association is our resources that can potentially help you to find an attorney in a reduced or no-cost scenario. Many attorneys will choose to represent clients on a pro bono basis each year. Pro bono means without fee to the client. If an attorney decides to take a case on this basis, he or she must provide the same service to you that he or she would to a paying client. There is no ethical way for him or her to take your case and not provide you with the same level of representation that he or she would any other client of theirs.
When you are just starting a family law case it can seem like the entire world is against you. That is more of a psychological hurdle or burden for you to clear. When it comes to learning about family law, having someone here in your specific circumstances and providing you with information is exactly what happens in consultation with a family law attorney. Legal aid organizations offer the ability for you to engage with practicing family law attorneys for consultations. In addition, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person at our two Houston area locations, over the phone, and via video. These consultations do not carry with them an expectation of the person meeting with us to hire our office. We will sit down with you for 30 minutes to discuss your case and go over the applicable laws. This may be the first time that you were learning the ins and outs of family law. Sometimes learning the basics can go a long way to helping you understand your rights.
You may have had some questions for some time regarding whatever situation your family is going through. These questions could have been ones where you have been considering filing for primary custody of your child, divorcing your spouse, or anything in between. Without access to information, you may have felt like it would be impossible for you to do so, however. You simply needed encouragement and belief in yourself to move forward with the case that can benefit you, your children, and your family as a whole.
Another important part of these consultations with family law attorneys is that you can begin to learn about strategy and devising a plan for your case. It doesn't matter what income Group A person belongs to. If that person goes into a family law case without a plan and without an intention to do something productive for their family, he or she will not succeed. As a result, it is especially important to learn about ways that attorneys approached divorce and child custody cases in terms of having a plan and being intentional. Setting specific goals for yourself, charting realistic benchmarks to reach those goals, and staying in communication with your attorney are always that these free of charge consultations can assist you and your family.
Legal aid hotlines and services can also provide you with parenting plans in assistance in learning how to manage stressful situations in your life. Having the tools to be able to survive a job loss, sickness in the family, stress at home and other issues can be of special importance. However, you will not find resources like this that are specifically tailored to your situation just anywhere. Rather, you need to know where you can reach out to get this information and how you can begin to prepare a case while also managing the day-to-day needs of your family.
When it comes to Texas family law there are opportunities for you to take advantage of when it comes to addressing legal problems without having to file a lawsuit. No matter what anyone says, there is no simple or easy family law case. There are always challenges associated with these cases and there are potential consequences of you filing a case. This should not dissuade you from filing a family law case, but it should give you some degree of food for thought in terms of helping you identify whether there are other means for you to achieve your goals in a family law setting.
The first way that I am thinking of that you may be able to address challenges in your life regarding family law relates to sending in demand letters to your Co-parent or ex-spouse. This can be especially important in a scenario where you believe your Co-parent or ex-spouse has violated the terms of your final decree of divorce or child custody order. Rather than immediately filing an enforcement case against him or her you can address the situation with him or her directly and give him or her opportunities and avenues to avoid the filing of a case. Simply sending a letter directly addressing the problem can do a lot of good in terms of avoiding a family law case.
I have run into situations as an attorney where the opposing party wasn't even aware of the violation that they had done regarding the court order. Simply bringing up the violation to your opposing party may be enough for him or her to address the problem directly with you. This works out better especially in a Co-parenting situation where you and your Co-parent will need to learn how to work together in your post-divorce or post-relationship life regarding raising your children.
Mediation is another way for you and your opposing party to potentially solve the issues in your life without having to go through the family courts. Consider a situation where you have included a prerequisite to mediate your case rather than go to trial or file a lawsuit in the event of a future dispute regarding prior court orders. This may be especially helpful OK if, for example, you believe that the amount of child supports your ex-spouse needs to pay should increase due to a change in their income. Rather than having to file a modification case, you may be able to attend mediation through your county at a reduced cost to all parties. This can help you achieve the goal of having your child support figure increased oil if not forcing you to necessarily go through an entire pay me lowercase to do so.
If you do need to end up filing a family law case working with legal aid organizations can help you to learn the ins and outs of filing a family case in Texas. This includes shafting a petition, filing the documents, serving notice of the lawsuit to your opposing party, and getting to your first hearing or mediation session. Simply knowing the path your case will take can be great for Peace of Mind and give you the confidence that you need to proceed with the case that can stand to benefit you and your family a great deal.
Additionally, working with legal aid organizations can put tuna position where you are much more comfortable going to court and representing yourself if necessary. Many times, you may be in a situation where it is not necessary or even Are certainly helped by you having an attorney you may find yourself in a position where it is not necessary. As a result, the legal aid organization can help you to identify whether you find yourself in that kind of position and what can be done through self-representation. All it takes to learn this type of potentially life-changing information is to seek out the resources that are available to you and then take advantage of them on your schedule.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
FREE Family Law Ebook:
If you want to know more about family law, download our free ebook: “Family Law eBook”
The eBook covers the basics of:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Child protective services (CPS)
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How to Set a Contested Final Hearing (Family Law)
- How to Set an Uncontested Final Hearing (Family Law)
- Family Law Injunctions in Texas
- What is the difference between an attorney and a family law attorney?
- Guardian Ad items in Family Law
- Where to locate more information about Family Law in Texas
- Where can I find a Family Lawyer in Texas?
- The Wrong Way to Handle your Family Law Matter?
- Relocation to be Closer to Family
- How to prepare for and win on an enforcement case in Texas family court
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.