Being involved in a family law proceeding is stressful enough on its own, and when you’re adding a financial component into the mix, it can become even more anxiety-producing. Of course, this happens to many people, since legal fees at the start of the case or during it can seem overwhelming.
However, there are practical ways you can fund your legal fees as your case progresses. Consider the potential funding sources below, and don’t forget to weigh all your options and your situation before deciding what to do.
Family and Friends
Friends and family are an obvious place to go, but it can be awkward and uncomfortable for some people. However, it will mean no sky-high interest rate, and you’ll likely be able to get the money you need without having to wait or go through a credit check. Be professional in your request. Lay out a few repayment options you know you can handle, be realistic about the payoff time frame, and offer to put the loan in writing. When everyone is on the same page with their expectations, borrowing from family and friends goes more smoothly.
Traditional Credit and Lending Routes
If you can’t borrow from family or friends, you can consider traditional routes, such as personal loans or using your credit cards. Be aware that if you use a credit card and you’re in the middle of or heading toward a divorce, it must be a credit card that is only in your name. You shouldn’t add to any joint debts when divorce is about to happen or underway, so get a card in your name alone if you haven’t already. The same applies if you go the personal loan route; your loan should be solely in your name so you’re not adding anything to the marital debt.
Of course, you should exercise caution when using any credit product to cover your legal fees. You’ll want to look for the best terms available to you right now, and only use what you need to cover your legal fees. Check your credit score beforehand so you have an idea of what you may be able to qualify for, and don’t engage in any unnecessary spending.
Fundraising online has become quite common these days, and it’s often used for things like medical and legal expenses. There are several websites available that are free to start a campaign on, with the most popular two being Kickstarter and GoFundMe. Naturally, the downside here is that you will be making your personal matter public, and it may take a while to raise the money you need. However, if you don’t mind people knowing and feel more comfortable putting it out there at once as opposed to directly asking people you know for help on a one-by-one basis, this could be an option. This also works if you know several people who can contribute a smaller amount as opposed to one or two people who are able to lend you the total sum you need. Online crowdfunding websites do charge fees for the service that come out of the amount you raise, so be aware of those expenses as well.
Having legal representation in a family law matter is very important and often makes a significant difference in the outcome of your case. While you may have to think outside the box a bit to get the money together that you will need for an attorney, the end results are well worth it. Keep in mind that once your case is resolved, you’ll be able to pay off whatever you borrowed and start your new life.