The requirements for securing legal aid for a divorce may vary based on where you live and the unique rules of your local legal aid organization. In most places, however, you have to meet income requirements in order to qualify for legal aid. Typically, legal aid organizations help clients who have low incomes for free. Some may accept clients with higher incomes as well, on a sliding-fee basis. You may also have to provide proof that you are a resident of the jurisdiction in which the legal aid organization is located to be eligible for legal aid for a divorce.
Typically, legal aid for a divorce is reserved for individuals who need the help of a lawyer but cannot pay for the services of one. As such, you will usually have to prove that you have low income to qualify for this kind of help. For example, you will usually have to submit proof of income or some type of proof that you are unemployed. In some cases, you may have to provide information about any assets you possess as well.
Your household size may also play a role in your eligibility for legal aid for a divorce. Your household size may be compared with your income to determine the amount of money you are likely to have to contribute to your legal fees. Some legal aid organizations may also consider your necessary expenses, including those paid for housing and food, when determining your eligibility for legal aid for a divorce.
Although you are most likely to be eligible for legal aid if you have a low income, all may not be lost if your income is a bit higher. For example, if your income exceeds what the legal aid organization considers low but is below its maximum income guidelines, you may be offered legal help at a discounted rate. In such a case, you may be charged legal fees that are set based on your income and the amount the legal aid organization believes you should reasonably be able to afford.
Your place of residency is likely to be a factor in your eligibility for a legal aid divorce as well. In most cases, legal aid organizations only accept clients who live in the same jurisdiction in which the organization is located. The organization may also set time-based requirements when determining your eligibility. For example, it may require you to live in the jurisdiction for at least six months before you will be eligible for free legal aid help.