Divorce & Custody
Free Legal Services
Her Justice – 718.562.8181
Tuesday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Eligibility: Must meet income guidelines
Her Justice provides free legal help in family law, divorce and immigration to low-income women living in New York City. Services may include (1) legal information, advice, and referrals; (2) brief services (for example, drafting petitions and answers); and (3) attorney representation. Her Justice partners with New York City’s top law firms to provide free legal representation to women who cannot afford a lawyer for their Family Court, divorce or immigration case. These pro bono lawyers from the City’s top law firms are supported by Her Justice lawyers throughout the duration of the case.
How to Get Help By Telephone
Her Justice opens up intake for new clients by phone on Tuesday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm via our Legal Help Line. Please call the Her Justice Legal Help Line at 718-562-8181 and leave a detailed voice message with your full name, the borough you live in and/or your court case is being heard in, a brief summary of the legal help you are seeking, any upcoming court dates, and a safe telephone number. You will be called back within 2 business days to be set up for an intake appointment with a Her Justice legal assistant. Their staff is multilingual.
Please note that Her Justice provides legal assistance for Family Court (custody/visitation, child support, spousal support and orders of protection) and matrimonial matters (divorce) over the telephone.
L.I.F.T. (Legal Information for Families Today) – 212.343.1122
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Chat online at www.LIFThotline.org
Offers a legal advice hotline for families in NY and can address questions related to the court system and family law. Offers assistance and information about navigating the court system–no legal representation. LIFT also offers a Family Legal Center with one-on-one support for those seeking guidance on cases involving child custody, child support, and family law. Please call to speak seek legal guidance or to make an appointment for the Family Legal Center. Languages: English/Spanish, with sites in Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
The Women’s Program at LIFT is designed to empower women with the tools to be their own laywer in Family Court. Participants receive one-on-one information and support from expert and friendly staff – plus access to educational workshops, referrals to free and low cost neighborhood resources, and are welcome to join our Mothers Group. LIFT can provide one-on-one appointments for child support paperwork and has a representative in court whom one can speak to.
New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) – 212.613.5000
Divorce: Tues/Fri 9am – 3pm; Immigration: Mon/Wed 9am – 3pm; Housing, financial issues, disability: Mon-Fri 9am – 3pm
Eligibility: Representation is decided case-by-case through consultation, but anyone can call for advice
NYLAG provides consultation, advocacy and representation in a wide range of family law issues including contested and uncontested divorces, child custody/ visitation, orders of protection, spousal and child support, and foster care matters. Victims of domestic violence are prioritized in all cases. Our language capacity includes Spanish, French and Russian. Also have an immigration, government benefits, employment and special education units. NYLAG will provide legal advice on any situation, however, the chances of getting representation vary depending on the details of the case and the income of the defendant.
*NYLAG provides paperwork assistance in Spanish*
The Legal Aid Society – 212.426.3000
Bronx: Uncontested divorce, domestic violence, housing, government benefits.
Eligibility: Income guidelines for representation, must live in the Bronx
Brooklyn: Family law, public assistance, social security.
Eligibility: Income guidelines for representation, must live in Brooklyn
City Bar Justice Center Legal Hotline – 212.626.7383
Hours are M-F 9am – 1pm and 2 – 5pm
Eligibility: Must meet income guidelines
Offers a legal advice hotline, as well as a referral services for low-income residents. No representation offered. Specializes in matrimonial and family law, housing law, domestic violence, immigration, bankruptcy, and debt collection and benefits.
Monday Night Law – 212.626.7373
Eligibility: None, but must make an appointment–no walk-ins.
Monday Night Law is a community service program providing free consultations with volunteer lawyers. The consultation is a chance for you to discuss questions you may have about a legal issue or process, and an opportunity to have a lawyer help you figure out what to do next. Issues covered include employee law, divorce, family law, bankruptcy, consumer law, housing, and small business matters. Spanish translators may be available.
Volunteer Attorney Program
Email email@example.com or visit the Help Center at 60 Centre Street, Room 116 to make an appointment.
An uncontested divorce program is held weekly–appointments are required. Volunteer lawyers assist in the preparation of divorce papers, provided that the litigant knows the current address of their spouse, has no issues to be resolved before the court and there are no minor children of the marriage.
There is no cost to the litigant, other than the court fees of $210 to purchase an index number and later, $125 to have the case put on the matrimonial calendar. If the litigant is indigent, a fee waiver request will be included.
Collaborative Family Law Center – 212.428.5592
To schedule an appointment, you can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligibility: While services are distributed based on income, they are welcoming to a wide income-range
This includes links to qualifying couples in New York City’s five boroughs to reduced-fee or free collaborative divorce professionals. Collaborative Family Law is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that gives divorcing couples a respectful way to end their marriage with the help of lawyers, but without the stress, delay, and expense of litigation. If you live in New York City, Collaborative Family Law Center staff can link you to professionals who have agreed to represent clients in a collaborative divorce for a reduced fee, and in some cases, without charge.
The Collaborative Family Law Center also offers free or reduced-fee mediation services to qualifying couples. For more information: Divorce Mediation
Note: These resources are inappropriate for cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, or where one spouse cannot locate the other.
Low-Cost Legal Services
The New Start Project – 646.619.1272
The New Start Project prepares paperwork for Uncontested Divorces and a wide range of Family Law Issues. The staff is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. Services include assistance with the following:
- Uncontested divorces (with or without children)
- Separation Agreements
- Stipulations of Settlement
- Child Support Stipulations
- Notice of Appearance and Demand for Complaint
- Answer to a summons for divorce
- Child support worksheet
- Child support petitions and/or modifications
- Correction of faulty paperwork in existing divorce actions
Fees are determined on a sliding scale ranging from $100 – $500 (according to the client’s income).
The New Start Project, LLC
33 West 19th Street #324
New York, NY 10011
Tel. (646) 619-1272
NY Family Justice Center Walk-In Services (M-F, 9-5)
Eligibility: Must be victim of domestic violence, elder abuse, or sex trafficking. Services are free and available to all victims and in all languages, regardless of immigration status.
198 East 161st St
Subway: 4, B, D to 161 St Yankee Stadium
Bus: BX1, BX2, BX6, and BX13
Brooklyn (718.250.5111, select 6)
350 Jay Street
Subway: A, C, F, R to Jay St or 2, 3, 4, 5 to Borough Hall
Bus: B25, B26, B38, B51, B54, B57, B61, B65, B67, and B75
80 Centre Street
Subway: 4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall, J, Z, 1, 2, 3, A, C to Chambers St, N, R to City Hall
Bus: M5, M9, M22, M103
126-02 82nd Avenue, Kew Gardens
Subway: E, F to Kew Gardens/Union Tpk
Bus: Q10, Q37, Q46, Q60
Clients do not need to make an appointment. The FJC has partner organizations with staff members who speak more than 20 languages. In addition, interpretation services are available for over 150 languages at the FJC.
NYC Family Justice Centers provide legal information on family matters, immigration and divorce, as well as counseling. Lawyers and paralegals are available to meet with clients to provide advice or representation. They assist clients in understanding their legal rights and may be able to assist with family law (custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, orders of protection) matrimonial, or immigration matters, such as visa information or employment authorization.
Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. – 718.624.3894
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 4pm (need photo ID and proof of income)
Eligibility: Must be Brooklyn resident for free services, must meet income guidelines.
Provides legal assistance. Provides representation on select issues, including child custody and support, bankruptcy, and foreclosure, NOT divorce. However, they can help file for uncontested divorces. On Thursdays at the Brooklyn Civil Center, consumer debt clinics are held between 2:30-4:30pm in room 805 and 5-6pm in room 403. Anyone can drop by.
Legal Services NYC – 917.661.4500
Monday – Friday 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Eligibility: Up to 200 percent above poverty line to qualify for free services
Provides advice and referrals on a variety of issues, and provides representation on housing issues and government benefits. Representation is granted case-by-case and is based on income.
Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project – 718.739.4100
Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
This is a not-for-profit legal assistance program dedicated to providing attorneys on a pro bono basis to residents of Queens County who cannot afford to retain a lawyer to resolve their civil legal problems. UNCONTESTED DIVORCE ONLY.
Note: have any court papers or other documents related to the problem on hand when you call. There is a waiting list for uncontested divorces.
Center for Women of New York Legal Clinic – 718.793.0672, email@example.com
Eligibility: None, but please call ahead of time.
Takes place every other Tuesday at 6:30 pm, Queens Borough Hall, Room 325. An attorney provides advice for a variety of issues including divorce, domestic violence, child custody, and assistance with filing forms; Medicare and Medicaid advice. Services are free.
General Divorce Resources
On this website you will find resources on:
- Collaborative Family Law and Divorce Mediation
- Domestic Violence & Divorce
- Finding a Lawyer
- Free Divorce Forms – including the Uncontested Divorce Forms Packet
- Glossary of Legal Terms
- Parent’s Handbook
- Resources for Judges and Attorneys
Contact: Baila Kamman, Esq. (New York County), firstname.lastname@example.org
At this time, the New York County program is not accepting anyone with minor children.
Kwaku Agyeman, Esq. (Kings County), email@example.com
Kings Co. program cannot help with divorces involving domestic violence, child support, child custody, visitation, etc. The program also cannot address maintenance nor spousal support. Additionally, any cases involving children require clients have acquired a family court order for support and/or custody.
Custody & Family
Family Court Attorney Program – VAPFamily@nycourts.gov
The New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney program offers free consultations with attorneys in cases involving support, paternity, custody, guardianship, visitation, and orders of protection. Attorneys do not represent clients in court, and they do not give advice over the phone. Sign-ups for the program start at 8:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of slots is very limited.
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS and FRIDAYS (9:00 AM to 4:30 PM)
New York County Family Court – 1st Floor Help Center
60 Lafayette Street
New York, New York
TUESDAYS and WEDNESDAYS (9:00 AM – 4:30 PM)
Kings County Family Court – 5th Floor Petition Room
330 Jay Street
Brooklyn, New York
TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS (9:00 AM – 4:30 PM)
Bronx County Family Court – 1st Floor Help Center
900 Sheridan Avenue
Bronx, New York 10451
THURSDAYS (9:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Queens County Family Court – 1st Floor Help Center
151-20 Jamaica Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11432
MONDAYS (9:00 AM – 1:00 PM)
Richmond County Family Court Annex – 4th Floor
25 Hyatt Street
Retrouvaille International – 800.470.2230
The Retrouvaille Program consists of a weekend experience combined with a series of 6-12 post-weekend sessions over 3 months. It provides the tools to help put your marriage in order again. The main emphasis of the program is on communication in marriage between husband and wife.
NY County Lawyers’ Association Legal Counseling Project – 212.267.6646 ext 217
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Eligibility: Anyone can receive services
The Legal Counseling Project provides free counseling to clients four times a month on an appointment-only basis in the areas of family, employment, consumer bankruptcy, and landlord/tenant law. No representation of any kind is undertaken. Many clients are prepared during these sessions – typically lasting 30-45 minutes each – for pro se representation; referrals are made to a variety of sources if the volunteer attorney determines that legal representation is necessary or desirable.
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