Minneapolis, MN asked in Divorce and Family Law for Minnesota

Q: I can't pay my legal fees so my current lawyer is dropping my case. My husband won't negotiate. What do I do?

My husband filed a divorce petition that I contested. During mediation he wouldn't negotiate at all so the case has gone to court. He changed the password on the bank accounts so I don't have access. He pays some bills and gives me $800 per month randomly. That's not even close to what our monthly budget has been. I've maxed out credit cards to live on and to pay some of my legal fees. I was working 2 days a week to accommodate the needs of my daughter, but I've been searching for a job with more hours and benefits. We were married for 30 years. I paid for his education, quit college early for his career, stayed home to raise his children, worked when I could and helped him start and manage his private practice as a marriage and family therapist. He's been emotionally abusive in general but particularly over the past 8-10 years. Finances (and kids) are his last hold on me as I can't meet my own needs and can't even complete the divorce. I have no idea where to begin to represent myself

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1 Lawyer Answer
Robert Kane
Robert Kane
  • Eagan, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: It seems odd your attorney wouldn't address your short term need at the onset. You should be seeking temporary support and requesting he pay your attorney fees. The Minnesota Judicial Branch website Help Topics is an excellent resource. Some attorneys, like myself, will try hard to make legal fees affordable.

Limited-scope representation is when you and a lawyer agree that the lawyer will handle some parts of your case and you will handle others. This is different from more traditional arrangements between lawyers and clients where a lawyer is hired to provide legal services on all aspects of a case, from start to finish. Limited-scope representation is sometimes called “unbundled legal services” or “discrete task representation.”

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