Is it harder for women to pay for attorneys than men?

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 by Katie Carter

Access to legal representation is becoming an increasingly important problem, especially for poorer women and minority groups. A recent article published on NPR’s website asserts, unsurprisingly, that people with representation do better. And it also stands to reason that, if women and minorities have a disproportionately more difficult time obtaining legal representation, they are also uniquely disadvantaged in their cases.

Still, even knowing that people with representation tend to do better, it doesn’t automatically mean that people can afford to pay what it costs to hire an attorney. If the money isn’t there, it just isn’t there.

Most people think that, if they can’t afford an attorney, they have a right to receive a court-appointed one. That’s true, but only in certain kinds of cases. In most civil cases (cases that are not criminal in nature), you don’t have the right to have an attorney appointed to represent you. So what are your other options? Legal Aid is one, but only if your income is really, really, incredibly, shockingly low. The fact of the matter is that there just isn’t enough funding for Legal Aid offices to hire enough attorneys to represent all the people who need them, and the attorneys who are there are overworked and seriously underpaid. Most of the time, they don’t take divorce cases.

I’m not here to blame the system or the players in the system, but I am here to tell you that, if you really feel like you can’t afford to hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce, you’re not alone.

I can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly make legal representation affordable. It costs what it costs, and, in this area, attorneys charge somewhere between $200-500 per hour for their services, depending on their level of experience. It’s hard to estimate exactly what a divorce costs because so many different factors are involved, but it’s pretty safe to say that it’s not cheap.

If you still want more, or you’re ready to take the next step, consider attending one of our divorce seminars. We teach them on the second Saturday of each month in both Virginia Beach and Newport News, and on the third Tuesday of the month in Virginia Beach. It’s a great way to get information directly from one of our divorce attorneys—because each seminar is taught by one! You can ask your questions and get the information you need to decide what to do next.
For more information, visit our site by clicking here.
If you’re ready to talk to an attorney one-on-one, we can help you with that, too! To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 785-9761.