Legal Aid for divorce cases - How you can apply
Please note : As of 1st April 2013, legal aid for divorce cases in England and Wales hasl been withdrawn by the government and you will no longer be able to obtain legal aid funding for your divorce or family law case unless you are a victim of domestic violence. If you are in Scotland or Northern Ireland there are different rules.
Types of legal aid still available
Full Legal Aid - legal representation at court
If you need to make an application to the Court you will need to apply for certificated legal aid for which the income and capital limits are greater than for "legal help".
Is Everyone entitled to legal aid ?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse you will need to find a suitably authorised legal aid solicitor.
Even if you are working, own your home and have savings, you may still qualify. However, you may have to pay a contribution towards the cost of taking your case to Court.
Even if you are financially eligible and can show your case has good prospects of success the Legal Services Commission can still refuse to grant you legal aid if:
How do I apply for legal aid?
You will need to find a Solicitor who is able to undertake legal aid cases and you can find them here on the Legal Aid website.
You will have to complete a Matrimonial funding Application form, a Means Enquiry Form and a Wages Form which your employer completes. If you are in a new relationship and living with your partner they will have to be assessed too.
In some areas you will have to be referred to mediation to see if it would be suitable. This is known as Section 29 mediation and is compulsory. It means that you will have to attend an information meeting with a local mediation service to see whether it is suitable. If your ex does not agree, then they will sign a s.29 form which you give to your solicitor, who will then be able to apply for funding.
If you are in receipt of Income Support/JSA you will get Legal funding without a contribution.
Only Certificated funding attracts a contribution if you earn less than the prescribed limits as set out below.
The Certificate will have conditions attached to it such as costs limits and type of proceedings allowed.