What to do If I can't afford an attorney


My husband and I are seperated, but haven’t drawn up seperation papers. My name is on the mortgage for an acre of land, the house, and a car. Those are the main things. his credit is terrible and would have little chance of getting them in his name. I want nothing to do with any of it and he can have it all. I’m willing to have papers drawn up that say that as long as he pays the payments, he can have them. If he can’t pay, then I don’t want to have to pick up those payments. They would have to foreclose and repossess the car and land. I have no money. I don’t even have enough money to hire an attorney.

I know that I need one, but what do people do who can’t afford an attorney? How do they protect themselves? There’s noone I can borrow the money from, my credit card is maxed out and I can’t get a loan from the bank…I’ve already tried. I have too much debt ratio because everything is in my name and the banks aren’t giving it out as easy right now.

Although I make decent money(around 55,000) he makes almost 60,000…I have so many bills that I can’t afford an attorney.

What do I do. Are there any services out there to help?


You will want to ensure your credit is protected. Having a separation agreement drawn up which allot all of the property to your husband will not protect your credit. Creditors are not concerned with who has responsibility for a debt under a separation agreement. If your husband does not make the payments you will be liable according to the terms of the original debt instrument.
It may be a better option to agree to sell the items, pay off the debts, and split any proceeds. If your husband cannot refinance these debts into his sole name, this is the only way you can ensure your credit will be safe.
As for legal services, I do not know of any service that offers free representation for divorce and property distribution. However, if you do get to the point where you need to file a lawsuit for equitable distribution most counties offer self serve centers that offer many of the forms you need to get started as well as a step by step guide to case management.


Thank You for your advice. I know it’s taking a chance with my credit, but we would never be able to sell the house or land or it would take a very long time. He needs a place to live and I do think he will pay. The land has 2 years left on it, the house…25 years. That will take time. He has nowhere else to go, so it will hurt him also if he doesn’t pay. Although my credit may be ruined if he doesn’t pay, surprisingly it doesn’t bother me. I know credit is important, but getting away from this person is more important right now. I can afford to continue to pay the land payment if he decides not to, which only leaves the house.

I will try to find those self serve papers. If it only cost $300-$500 for legal papers drawn up…that’s not a problem. $6000 is. I don’t know how anyone in NC can afford a divorce unless you make 6 digits!


There is an example of a Separation Agreement on this website, you may want to take a look at that document and try drafting an agreement on your own (agreements are not available at the courthouse). If you absolutely must go it on your own, I strongly advise you sit down with an attorney and have them review the agreement in conjunction with a comprehensive list of the marital assets and debts to ensure you are fully protected.
I wish you all the best.