The spark in your marriage has not just faded, it has been doused with water and stomped on, but with little or no money in the bank there is simply no way you can afford to file for divorce. Sound familiar? If so, you should know that you are not alone in this struggle. Every day, people all over the country find themselves feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage because they fear their finances cannot support a divorce. The good news is, it is possible to get a divorce even if you have no money to your name. The step by step guide below can help you to accomplish this goal and finally begin the process of moving on with your life.

Step 1: Contact Your Local Bar Association

There are many legal clinics and private attorneys who offer low cost of free legal services to individuals with limited resources who are in need of a divorce. Unfortunately, these low or no cost services are not typically advertised to the public. Thankfully, you can get the contact information of legal aid clinics in your area who offer these services by simply contacting your local bar association.

If you find that you are unable to qualify for legal aid services due to the value of your marital assets or other income streams, you may also be able to get the free legal services you need by asking a private attorney to take your case on a pro bono basis.

The bar association currently requires all of its members to complete a certain number of pro bono hours per year. If you are in search of an attorney to handle your case free of charge, inquiring about which attorneys have yet to fulfill this requirement may help you to narrow down your choices and ultimately find an attorney that is able to help.

Step 2: File A Divorce Petition With The Court

Your next step will be to file a divorce petition with the court. While your attorney will help you to complete and file the necessary documents, there are a few steps that you will still need to complete. For instance, if you are unable to pay the filing fee that accompanies this petition, you will need to complete a hardship form that asks the court to waive these fees. This hardship form will ask for information regarding your current income and assets. If your request for hardship status is granted, your case will be assigned a court date without the need to pay any court fees.

Step 3: Request Temporary Custody

This step is only necessary for those individuals who share children with their spouse and would like the children to remain with them during the divorce proceedings.

There is no fee associated with filing a custody petition in family court. However, if you fail to request temporary custody of your children, you could find yourself looking at some hefty legal fees in order to fight back if your soon-to-be ex spouse takes your children from your care.

In order to avoid these additional costs and ensure the best interest of your children is protected, you will need to file an emergency custody petition as soon as your spouse is served with the divorce papers.