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Custody Mediation When You Can’t Afford a Lawyer

A lawyer’s input in custody mediation can help you secure an agreement that is fair and in the best interest of your child. But a lawyer might be out of your price range. Luckily, there are affordable ways to get legal help throughout the mediation process.

Legal aid

Legal aid offices provide access to legal help for those who cannot afford it. Legal aid can connect you with lawyers who offer reduced rates, and even those who provide pro bono (free) services to low-income litigants. Contact the legal aid office in your area to learn more about the services they offer.

Unbundled services

Unbundled legal services (also called limited scope representation) help you save money by limiting the lawyer’s involvement in your case. The lawyer will only handle certain parts of your case while you handle the rest. For example, you may hire a lawyer to review your mediated agreement and write it in a court-acceptable format.

Legal paraprofessionals

A legal paraprofessional is not a lawyer, but they understand the law. Law clerks and paralegals are examples of legal paraprofessionals.

In a few U.S. states, a licensed legal professional can represent you in mediation. They can also provide legal information and draw up your agreement. 

Divorce coaching

A divorce coach guides parents who are considering divorce or in the process of divorce. They can help you create a parenting plan proposal, attend mediation sessions with you for emotional support, and more. Many divorce coaches have gone through divorce themselves so they can apply their experience to guide you through it.

Parenting apps

Parenting apps can help you prepare for mediation.

Custody X Change is popular with parents who want to amicably co-parent their children. The software helps you create a comprehensive parenting plan for mediation. Your proposal is essential to convincing the other parent that your plan is what’s best for the child.

A little help goes a long way in mediation

Although mediators help ensure fair and equal discussions, they are ultimately not there to represent either you or the other parent.

Having a professional in your corner can give you the confidence you need to advocate for yourself and your child. Also, qualified professionals — and custody software — can help you format your agreement so that the court will accept it as the final custody order for your case.

These alternatives to traditional legal representation can help you get the custody arrangements that are best for your child. Support makes all the difference when you’re deciding how to parent apart.


Zarira Love

In her three years of researching and writing for Custody X Change, Zarira Love has distilled the topics of child custody and parenting to make vital information accessible to all parents. She earned a BA in Creative Writing from SUNY Purchase College and currently resides in New York City. MORE >

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