Michigan Legal Help, a tool for finding legal resources (including do-it-yourself and low-cost legal help) for Michigan residents
Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM), Free legal advice & representation for lower-income persons and seniors. (In Washtenaw County only, family law services are limited to custody & child support. No divorce-facilitation services.)
Lakeshore Legal Aid, a law firm in 14 Michigan locations providing a range of free civil legal services for lower-income individuals and seniors. They cover family law, abuse protection, housing, public benefits, income tax, estate planning, legal expungement, and education. Note that they do offer help with divorce (see below).
Legal Aid and Defender Association for Wayne, Clinton, Macomb, & Oakland Counties.
Dispute Resolution Center, mediation and facilitation for civil issues such as divorce, child custody and parenting time, landlord-tenant disputes, parent-school conflicts, guardianship, and others.
Washtenaw County/EMU Legal Resource Center, courthouse-based self-help center for legal forms and information—but not advice—for people without an attorney
Michigan Poverty Law Program, a collaboration between University of Michigan and Legal Services of South Central Michigan.
734.998.6100 Ext. 33, for clarification of rights regarding Department of Human Services benefits and problems; social security; and state emergency relief.
Michigan Legal Services, Detroit-based advocacy for affordable health care, housing, and public benefits.
Check website for email contact information.
Legal Advocacy Services, University of Michigan and Legal Services of South Central Michigan offer limited representation for low-income women involved in domestic violence situations.
Contact SafeHouse at 734.973.0242, ext. 204
Child Advocacy Law Clinic, University of Michigan: supervised law-student representation for parents & kids in child abuse & neglect cases and in the foster care system.
Project Outreach, Justice Project Outreach Team (JPORT) serves individuals who have mental health issues and need help with the legal system.
Common Ground, Legal advocacy and support.
Community Outreach University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, legal advocacy for a variety of issues.
Legal Hotline for MI Seniors: Wills/estate planning; Medicaid & Medicare; consumer law; housing/real estate; pensions; public benefits.
An overview of divorce questions and answers is a the bottom of this page.
Women-only workshops on the legal and financial aspects of divorce
Women-only Divorce Support Group for those considering or in the process of divorce.
Schoolcraft divorce support, as well as legal and financial consultations (on alternating weeks) for both women and men, students and non-students
Washtenaw County Friend of the Court (FOC)
Lakeshore Legal Aid, a law firm in 14 Michigan locations providing a range of free civil legal services for lower-income individuals and seniors. They do cover Washtenaw County for divorce-related issues such custody, parenting time, paternity, and child support.
Free divorce information seminars, sponsored by the for-profit Victoria law firm, Birmingham
Take a deep breath. You can do this. You’ll come out on the other side of this experience with skills and strengths you never knew you had.
Keep emotional and financial costs to a minimum. Find an adult you can confide in. Do not use a child or attorney in place of a therapist or friend.
Do not sign anything. Resist threats and the desire to get it over with. Wait until you know more. Don’t give away your rights. You may feel very differently 3 years from now.
Protect yourself and your children. Learn what you need to know about separation before you act! These groups are led by people knowledgeable about divorce and separation.
Divorce/break-up education: attorney and financial-planners tell you what to expect in a safe and comfortable setting (women-only).
Going Solo support group: a therapist-facilitated group for women anywhere in the process of separating from a long-term relationship.
That depends. Is your divorce simple or complex?
If your divorce is complex/contested, even if you are the one who initiates the separation, it’s seldom easy. When kids, pets, debts, and property are involved, it gets even more complicated. If your partner isn’t interested in voluntary mediation, you would be wise to consult an attorney.
If simple, here are some resources that may help:
Lakeshore Legal Aid. A law firm in 14 Michigan locations providing a range of free civil legal services for lower-income individuals and seniors. They cover Washtenaw County for divorce-related issues such custody, parenting time, paternity, and child support. 888.783.8190.
Legal Services of South Central Michigan. Free legal advice and representation on civil matters such as custody and divorce when women and children are at risk, family law, wills, power of attorney, eviction, foreclosure, utility shut-offs, and tenant repair issues for lower-income residents. (The Washtenaw County location does NOT handle divorce-related issues such as custody and child support. See instead, The Family Law Project.)
Washtenaw County/EMU Legal Resource Center. Legal self-help forms and information—but not advice—for people without an attorney. Will supply divorce paperwork packet.
Unlike criminal court where a public defender will be assigned to you, you must hire your own divorce attorney if you decide you need one. This may seem impossible—especially if you no longer have access to your household income.
However, there are low-cost options out there for you, even if your available funds are minimal.
When there is an imbalance of power or money, you need someone on your side. Do not do it alone!
You are smart to be cautious. The most dangerous time in a coercive relationship is when your partner senses you are about to leave. Get the support you need to do this safely.
Your local domestic violence agency can talk you through the process of creating a safety plan.
U-visa - If you are undocumented and your partner is abusive you may qualify for a U-visa. More information is available through the Family Law Project at SafeHouse Center in Washtenaw County. In Wayne, call Community Health and Social Services Center & La Vida partnership at 313.849.3920.
Children at risk - The National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Justices has compiled instructions on how to proceed if your partner is threatening to use custody of your children against you.
If you have evidence that your children have been endangered or are at risk for abuse, the Washtenaw County Child Advocacy Center may be able to help through a referral from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or law enforcement. Anyone seeking counseling or prevention education can call 734.544.2925 to ask about the process.
Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm. Other hours by appointment
Snow Days: When Ann Arbor Public Schools are closed because of poor road conditions, please call to confirm your appointment.
The Women’s Center promotes self-determination for women and families by providing professional services that build confidence, strengthen connections, and create positive change.