If you have not found a service that can help you see our Help Directory or go back to the Going to the family court section.
How to get free or low cost legal advice about your family issue
How to get free or low cost legal advice about your family issue
Have you checked if you can get legal aid?
Make sure you read about legal aid available in family law cases to see if you can get help from a solicitor for free before you spend time, energy and money you may not be able to afford on paying for legal advice.
This guide explains how you may be able to get free legal advice about your family law problem or family court case.
Getting advice will help you understand your legal position and reassure you about your next steps. It can also help reduce conflict with your ex and give you the confidence to agree things sooner so you and your children can move on. Getting free advice is not always easy, so start looking as soon as you can.
In the next two sections we set out the details of other organisations that offer help as well as how you can get low-cost fixed-fee advice through Advicenow's joint project with Resolution. This service is designed to be used in conjunction with our helpful step-by-step guides.
Places where you can get free or low-cost legal advice
RCJ Advice can provide free legal advice if you are involved in a family law case in England and Wales. To see if they can help, you need fill in an assessment form, complete it, and email it to email@example.com.
They will assess your advice needs and either make an appointment for you or give you details of who else can help you. So many people need to use this service that they are only able to offer a maximum of three appointments to each person.
Divorcing or ending a civil partnership?
CourtNav is an online tool that helps you complete the divorce forms correctly and ensures they are checked by a solicitor before you submit your documents to Court, giving you the confidence of knowing that your documents are correct. To use Courtnav, make an appointment at your local Citizens’ Advice.
The Family Law Panel (FLP) offers members of the public an intial information service free of charge. This gives families the ability to better understand their situation and be fully briefed on their options for moving forward. The Panel also offers a "reduced fees scheme" for individuals earning (as a guide) less than £20,000 per year and with less than £20,000 in accessible savings. Professionals offer advice under this scheme at around £125 per hour (plus VAT) and can be identified on the website by a green disc.
LawWorks supports a network of over 280 free legal advice clinics that provide initial advice to individuals on various areas of law, including social welfare issues, family law, employment, housing, and consumer disputes. Use their search to see if there is a clinic near you offering advice on the area of law you need help with by phone, email or digitally. In order to use the time efficiently, please see What to bring to your appointment at a LawWorks clinic (PDF).
Rights of Women offers free, confidential legal advice for women in England and Wales who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford a solicitor. Call: 0207 251 6577 for a family law matter. Lines open Tuesday 7pm-9pm, Wednesday 7pm-9pm, Thursday 7pm-9pm and Friday 12pm-2pm.
If you are a woman in London Rights of Women offer a dedicated advice line. Call: 0207 608 1137. Lines are open Monday 10am-12pm and 2pm- 4pm, Tuesday 2-4pm, Wednesday 2-4pm, and Thursday 10am - 12pm and 2-4pm.
Coram Children’s Legal Centre offers a Child Law Advice Service where you can get free and confidential advice on specific questions you may have on family law if you do not have legal representation. The demand for the advice line is very high, so they are only able to answer a limited number of calls and emails. Make sure you read through the information on their website and only contact the support line with specific questions.
You can only get advice if you are a resident of England. To contact them about a family law matter, call: 0300 330 5480. Calls cost the same as calls to 01 and 02 numbers. They will be included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package. Lines are available Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm.
An email enquiry can be submitted 24/7 by filling in an online form. Or you can use their Webchat service Monday to Friday, 8am to 5.30pm. A webchat icon will appear on the right hand side of the page if an adviser is available.
They also offer a call-back service between 8am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday. There is a charge of £30 for a 30 minute advice call.
Places where you can get free or reduced price legal representation
If you have a court case where you need to go to court you may be able to get free representation or find a barrister who charges a reduced fee. Demand is high so do make sure you start looking into your options as soon as you get a hearing date.
Advocate can help find you a barrister who can provide you with free advice or representation at court anywhere in England and Wales. They can help with any legal issue as long as you are not eligible for legal aid and don't have enough money to pay for legal help.
You can apply directly online using their form and uploading your documents with it. Or you can download an application form and email it to them. You need to apply online or send a completed application form at least three weeks before the hearing or deadline for the piece of work you want help with.
Legal help is provided for one piece of work at a time, for example, you could be approved for some free legal advice, and then maybe some free representation depending on the outcome of the advice. Find out more about how it works and find the online form.
Once you have submitted your application, it is assessed by the casework team to make sure there is enough information about your case for a reviewer to decide if you are eligible for free help. The team may ask you for more documents or information if the form is not complete. Once the casework team is satisfied that they have enough information, your application will be sent to a senior reviewer to decide if your case fits the financial and legal merits. If the reviewer decides you are eligible and the work will take three days or less, the Advocate team will start looking for a barrister to help you. Because they rely on volunteers, they cannot guarantee to find someone, but they will do their best. If they can't find someone, they will let you know before your hearing.
Advocate finds barristers to help you with a particular task in your case. They cannot find someone to take a whole case for free. So if your application is successful, you will receive help for that specific task. After that, if you need further help you can apply again, providing at least three weeks' notice.
National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) offers a specialist legal service for children, young people and vulnerable adults in the area of family law. For information about how to contact the service, see NYAS legal services or call: 0808 808 1001 open 9am-8pm or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct Access Barristers - some barristers take queries or cases directly from members of the public and charge reduced rates. They are called ‘direct access’ barristers. The Bar Council maintains a service on its website to help members of the public find barristers who might be able to help.
About this guide
This short guide was written and produced by Advicenow and updated thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice.