According to the Sixth Amendment of the U. S Constitution, citizens who had committed a crime, have the right to the benefit of a lawyer’s help, even if they aren’t able to pay for it. Still, there are many legal cases such as child custody, inheritance, immigration, citizen’s rights, that imply an attorney’s help, but people cannot afford to pay his/her services. In any of these situations, a citizen can find legal help, free or with reduced costs.
Federally Funded Programs
These are part of a national network of offices for legitimate assistance, which can be affordable for citizens (you must be a citizen of the US, not an undocumented immigrant) with low income. Lawyers who part of this program can assist in many have legal problems such as divorce, landlord-tenant, Social Security, unemployment cases. These counsels can also provide information about temporary housing, domestic violence shelters, food banks, etc. If a citizen needs to benefit this kind of help, it can be searched on the Internet, or request on the phone for legal services or aid.
Charitable Organizations Serving Particular Populations
Another solution a citizen can try, if he doesn’t have money for a probate lawyer, is a nonprofit organization, mostly being focused on a particular group, such as senior citizens, immigrants, refugees, disabled or mentally challenged persons, battered women, etc. Still, this kind of associations, are sponsored by individuals so that they might have limited access, and they might be quite busy, even if they offer pro-bono help from attorneys. Probably after contacting an organization, even if they cannot help, they can indicate other directions. Thus a search on the Internet for legal aid/service might help.
Pro Bono Programs and Bar Associations
These kinds of programs are present in many lawyers’ associations and offer free or with low-cost services or advice from their attorneys. Thus there are many eminent lawyers who can represent someone pro-bono, after analyzing cases implying children, women abuse, or elderly issues.
Law School Clinics
In many U.S. law schools, there are some programs run by law professors which give the students some legal cases. Under professional supervision, the students are exposed to real-world legal problems, and they need to find solutions. This kind of legal services is mostly free for the members of the community.
There are also facilitators, who work at the courthouse and can help you with legal problems. They can give you precious information about completing different forms or reports and can guide you to the right persons in the court system.
Low-Cost Legal Programs
Even if you have a good income, and you are not qualified for free legal help, there are some other methods in which you are helped with legal problems, such as telephone hotlines, or sliding-fee programs, and even bar associations can offer you legal referral services.
Family Law Service Centres (FLSC)
Family Law Service Centres (FLSCs) are willing to help you with documents, represent a family law case, mediation and settlement conference, or referral to social service agencies. They readily accept applications for domestic violence, child protection, complex law cases.
This is a non-profit service, which helps people in legal issues, who cannot access other programs because of their income.
Try pricing attorneys
If you do not qualify for any of the options above, you can find a lawyer who will take your case on contingency. This means that if he loses the case, he will not be paid, but if he wins, he will take a percentage of the money awarded to you. Before you sign the contract with the lawyer, make sure you both agree on the rate.
If you need a family law attorney in St Petersburg and cannot afford one, do not despair and do not give up. With some research and the right questions asked to the right people you may find free or reduced-cost legal help.