Family Law Guide

A Guide to Obtaining Pro Bono Attorney for Family Law

When searching for a family pro bono lawyer, the first thing someone might ask is, "What does pro bono mean?" Pro bono publico is the Latin term meaning, "for the good of the public" in translation it creates a different meaning that is to provide free service to low-income families. Legal aid can help provide legal advice and lawyers to those who can't afford one.

The cases generally involve domestic violence, family law, and those who receive public benefits such as Social Security Income, welfare, or Medicare and Medicaid. People also can call local law schools where the law students offer free legal advice and are supervised by the law professors.

People that qualified for a family law pro bono attorney are those filing for custody, adoption, guardianship, unmarried people, civil protection orders, and child custody. Studies show that 40% of households with low to moderate incomes have legal problems every year.

When someone files for divorce, they need to state why they want to follow through with it Couples don't have to end the marriage if they feel at some point they could reconcile. In that case, they can file for legal separation, this would mean they're still married, but not necessarily living together. The person filing for divorce can find a pro bono divorce attorney through their local listings.

Family lawyers who represent child custody cases, adoption, unmarried parents, divorce, and civil orders of protection, need to attend a training to better serve the children who may have been evaluated by a court-appointed social worker. The social worker with does a home study with the child and parents to gain an understanding of how they're interacting with each other. 

This evaluation will also determine how the parents or parent communicate with their child. The social worker will not only interview the family but also inspect the home of the child to ensure his/her safety. The family pro bono lawyer will protect the child and do what's in the best interest of that child. If the parents are considered unfit to have full or partial custody of the child, a guardian must be appointed or the child could go into foster care after further examination with the social worker.

A lawyer doesn't need to get married unless there's a prenuptial agreement to be signed. A prenuptial agreement is a document stating that the spouse to be will not benefit from their husband/wife in the event of divorce. They only get at the end of the marriage what they brought into it. Meaning that if they have a large income when they marry, they will still have it when they divorce. If there are children involved, the lawyer may suggest that the couple seek family law to follow through with the custody issues.

Law students are required, at certain law schools, to complete 30 hours of pro bono law and 50 hours of law-related work before graduation. They will receive a certificate of completion at graduation.