Is there really no chance for me to get divorced if he doesn’t want to and I don’t have money for a lawyer?

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Is there really no chance for me to get divorced if he doesn’t want to and I don’t have money for a lawyer?

Married for 20 years with 2 kids. I am a housewife starting my own business. I want to divorce; tired of my husband’s psychological abuse, and consistent negative reinforcement. All our life together he maked me feel that I am an empty space, that I am worthless. I don’t have money for a lawyer, and he doesn’t want a divorce. He wants to stay in our house. He told me that he will give me some money and I am free to leave.

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

ANYONE CAN DIVORCE ANYONE AT ANY TIME: someone cannot force you stay in a marriage, nor can you be trapped in one by an inability to pay an attorney. You can file for a divorce yourself; contact the family court and they should be able to point you do instructions and forms. Before doing that, though:

1) Talk to some divorce attorneys. They often deal with women who want a divorce but don't have much in the way of assets or income, because they have been primary care givers or homemakers. I believe they are used to sometimes only being paid at the end of the divorce, when there has been a distribution of assets and some spousal and/or child support set up.

2) Try contacting Legal Services: Legal Services in NJ is a very good group which provides legal assistance to those who can't pay for lawyers themselves. They have alot of demand for their services and legal resources, so it's not certain they'll take your case, but it's worth the conversation.

3) Speak to support or advocacy or networking groups for divorced mothers, women starting their  own businesses, etc.--one or another may have a recommendation to some legal resources to help you.


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