The legal battle over custody rights for your children is an overwhelming and terrifying experience. More so when money is restricted. But, even if budget isn’t able to afford the cost of lawyer representation Affordable options are readily available. For some individuals, lawyers who are free for child custody disputes could be among them.

What Is a Pro Bono Lawyer?

Pro bono lawyers offer legal assistance for no cost or at a lower cost. In general, those with poor incomes are eligible and also people who are disabled and victim of violence in the home, older or members of the military.

As per the American Bar Association (ABA) Legal assistance that is affordable and cost-effective assistance and representation is available through your local legal aid office. These are not-for-profit institutions that, for people who satisfy the income requirements provide financial assistance for legal issues. We spoke with award-winning lawyer Joseph Hoelscher to get his expertise on what to expect when seeking free legal assistance.


Joseph Hoelscher of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC is a child and legal counsel in the field of family law, scholar of law and writer. He is also an active part of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas.

If you’re searching for no-cost child custody lawyers, and are contemplating employing a pro bono attorney there are five factors to think about prior to hiring.

Consider Your Financial Position

Legal costs in the course of a parental custody matter can be quite costly. A lawyer will need to be paid hourly, and will probably also need a significant retainer (a down payment towards legal fees) to back the case. Parents who can’t afford the cost of a private attorney can choose between two options You can either represent yourself, or be called “pro se” legally. If you are in compliance with the income requirements of the pro bono program’s conditions and request the services of an attorney for pro bono.

Find information on how to get pro-se self-helprepresentation through searching your state’s government’s website under the self-help resource section.

Know What You’re Up Against

If you are certain that who you’re going to go up to in court an attorney, it’s recommended to employ an attorney instead of representing yourself. Employing a lawyer who is a certified bar member will not only allow you access to their trial skills and their understanding of the functioning in the system of law, but can also give peace of mind knowing you’re in the right hands. Even even if your case does not make an appearance in court (as the case of a tiny percentage of custody matters do) their knowledge and experience in negotiations can be a great benefit in reaching an agreement with your opponent.

Find an Attorney You’re Comfortable With

When you choose an attorney it is crucial that you feel comfortable working with the attorney. Because of the nature of the services offered by pro bono Parents may be hesitant about changing their plans or strategies regarding the custody issue to use the lawyer’s free services.

Although you have the option of refusing representation from a lawyer, Hoelscher explains that requesting new representation could prolong the duration of your case. “In most child custody cases, clients are not entitled to free legal representation, so they may not get a new lawyer or may need to wait. Also, lawyers are typically required to go through a formal process of withdrawing, which may take some time and require a judge’s approval,” Hoelscher explains. Hoelscher.

Lawyers must provide clients truthful, accurate advice until the time the representation is officially ended and include assistance in transferring cases to other lawyers.

The most effective method to ask for the services of a different lawyer is to return to the organization or agency which helped you get pro bono legal services, says Hoelscher or, when your lawyer was chosen by the judge, submit the request to the court. However, be aware it is the case that “lawyers are obligated to give clients honest, correct advice up until their representation has formally ended, including help transferring cases to new lawyers,” Hoelscher states.

Ensure Your Attorney Is Familiar With Family Law

Corporate law departments usually provide support and sponsorship for pro bono initiatives. This is why you could find an attorney who typically is a lawyer for corporate law, but chooses to pursue the family law aspect as a side project. While there’s nothing wrong with this situation, it’s crucial to ensure that your attorney is conversant with family law practices to prevent surprises in the courtroom. If you are seeking advice from a legal aid organization You’ll need to be as certain that the lawyer on your behalf is appropriate person for the job , by reviewing their previous experiences. It is perfectly acceptable to check with your potential lawyer what their experience is with family law.

Do Your Research

Do some research on your lawyer and becoming familiar with the court system prior to hiring an attorney. The best place to begin is to use free legal answers which is a service offered by the ABA which provides brief but free legal guidance.

The truth is that pro legal aid resources are not unlimited Hoelscher says that pro bono resources are limited. Hoelscher. Pro bono clients that make their lawyer’s job simpler often get better service than those who are demanding or indifferent. To make the maximum use of your lawyer’s experience, “Pro bono clients should be respectful of the lawyers time by scheduling calls, having a list of things to talk about and sticking to the important points, and giving the lawyer well-organized materials the lawyer needs quickly,” Hoelscher says. Hoelscher.


  • Where can I locate a family lawyer who is pro bono? Talk to the local office of legal aid to find out if you’re meeting the financial criteria needed to receive their aid. If you do not meet the criteria, consult with your Bar association in your area to determine whether you are eligible for any other legal assistance based on need. It is the American Bar Association offers a Pro Bono Resource Directory of the available social and legal services as well as religious and philanthropic organizations may give recommendations.