Cardinal Law  

What do I do when I cannot afford an attorney?

The truth is, you do not always need to hire an attorney to attend to the legal matters that may arise day to day. There are options to assist you. For instance, in most counties there are self-service forms available online to attend to such things as Divorce, Child Custody, Wills, Powers of Attorney, etc.  At present, Cochise County has very few forms available to its residents, but it is possible to use the forms from the Arizona counties that do have the forms available, such as Maricopa, Pima, Yavapai and Coconino. You may need to change the name of county, court division, etc., but the fundamental Arizona law is the same in all counties.  For many simple matters, most people can attend to their legal matters on their own by using the internet, reading the instructions, and paying attention.

Another resource in Arizona, are “certified legal document preparers” (CLDP’s), who are authorized by the Arizona Supreme Court to fill out forms and to generate legal documents for you. CLDP’s cannot give you legal advice and they cannot appear in court. But if you are uncertain how to fill out a form, or which form you should use, a CLDP may be able to assist you. For more information on how to reach a CLDP, contact the Arizona Supreme Court Board of Legal Document Preparers, at: It is prudent practice to run a check for disciplinary complaints prior to choosing a CLDP.

To be fair, a cautionary note should be made about self-service and non-lawyer assisted document preparation. An attorney has a legal obligation to act in your best interest and to represent your best interests. 

Certified Legal Document Preparer's and self-service form options do not have a responsibility to inform as to your legal options or ramifications, and may leave you either partially informed or poorly informed. This may result in very poor and unanticipated outcomes. Often the money "saved" on choosing not to retain legal representation is lost in future circumstances that may not be fully anticipated or appreciated. Choosing unwisely in a legal situation may have a direct and adverse lasting effect. It may be wise to obtain legal advice first, even if you decide not to hire a lawyer in order that you may better understand the matter at hand should you wish to proceed with other options. The old adage "penny-wise, pound-foolish" is an appropriate caution in legal situations.

Our links page has much in the way of free resource. There are many state and local assets available for anyone looking for information about legal matters.

Be advised: No content on this site should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, contact the offices of Cardinal Law.

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