Moderate Means Program

If you need to find a lawyer in Contra Costa County to assist with a problem related to family law, but you’re struggling to pay your bills, we may be able to help.

MODERATE MEANS PROGRAM

The Moderate Means Program is designed for clients who need legal representation for family law and have limited resources. Qualified applicants will be referred to a lawyer who will provide up to 30 minutes of Free consultation and then charge $150 per hour, with an initial deposit of $1,500. Additional pre-payments may be required to continue the case.

Before you can be referred to a Moderate Means attorney you must 

  • Meet the qualifications on the Maximum Income Level chart.
  • You may not have any assets more than $5,000, excluding the family’s principal residence, retirement accounts and personal vehicle.
  • Complete the Moderate Means Request for Participation Application and pay a non-refundable $40 application fee. Clients seeking referrals through the Moderate Means Program for family law disputes must complete the application before any referral can take place.
  • Be able to pay a $1500 retainer fee to the attorney at the time they are hired. Please see here for Frequently Asked Questions about the Moderate Means Program
  • You must agree to the Moderate Means Code of Conduct and sign the Client Agreement that is incorporated into the application.  

For a complete description of the program, please read our Family Law Moderate Means Program Introduction. 


Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for the Moderate Means Program you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the 4 questions below: 

  1. Is this a family law issue?
    The Moderate Means Program is only for Family Law issues. For other issues, please contact our Lawyer Referral & Information Service at (925) 825-5700.
  2. Is the family law issue in Contra Costa County?
    All cases must be in Contra Costa County. If your case is in another county, contact that county’s bar association.  The State Bar of California Certified Lawyer Referral Service Directory.
  1. Do you meet the qualifications on the Maximum Income Level Chart?   
Persons In
Household 
Total Monthly
Income (Gross)* 
1  $2,845.00 
2  $3,670.00 
3  $4,571.00 
4  $5,555.00 
5  $6,500.00 
6  $7,445.00 
7  $8,890.00 
8  $9,330.00 

*Child/Spousal support received is not calculated in the monthly income range. 

*You may not have any assets more than $5,000, excluding the family’s principal residence, retirement accounts and personal vehicle .

  1. Do you have $1,500 at this time to hire an attorney?
    You will need to prepay a $1,500 retainer fee to your attorney to get your case started. The attorney has the right to ask for more money once the retainer is exhausted or below a certain dollar amount. The attorney’s fees are $150 per hour.If you qualify, please print and complete the Moderate Means Request for  Participation Application.

If you don't qualify

If your income level falls below the guidelines, you have the option to have a co-signer for the application. By co-signing on the application, that person agrees to pay the attorney’s fees if the applicant is unable to do so. The co-signer is also required to provide all the supporting financial and personal documentation that is required from the applicant. Please contact us at [email protected] if you require a co-signer application.

If you meet all the other qualification but you do not have the $1,500, you do not qualify for the program at this time. All attorneys require that you have a $1,500 retainer. You must pay this upfront before they can start your case. Please feel free to apply for the program once you have the retainer.


Filling out the application & getting started

You’ll need to provide the following information and documents with your application:

  • You’re referred to in these applications as a “petitioner.” You begin each application by filling in your contact and employment information.
  • “Opposing Party Information” is about the person with whom you’re having a legal problem. We need information on this party, including where they work and if they have a lawyer. If you’re not able to provide all the information for this section, do not worry! Fill it in as best you can. Many times your attorney can find out this information.
  • Next, we need to know about the specific legal problem that you’re having. Fill in this information as best you can.

Additional documents that may be needed

With your completed application, submit copies of 4 current paystubs. If you are self-employed, please submit a copy of your last two years’ tax returns, including Schedule C, along with a current Profit and Loss Statement. If you receive unemployment or SSI/SSDI, please submit a copy of your monthly benefit statement, along with a description of how you will pay the attorneys’ fees. Do not send original documents, paperwork sent to the program will not be returned.

Both the applicant (you) and co-signer (if you’re using one) must also supply copies of one of the following items to prove income:

  • The last 4 -6-weeks of pay stubs
  • Unemployment awards letters
  • Social Security documentation

If you do not have any of the above items, you should call our office at (925) 677-0234. We may be able to suggest something else.


Where to send your fee & application

Send the completed form, the $40 application fee and all attachments to:

  • Scan and email to: [email protected]
  • By mail: Moderate Means Program, CCCBA, 2300 Clayton Road, #520, Concord, CA 94520

A non-refundable $40 application fee is due along with your application. Please be aware that you will need to prepay a $1,500 retainer fee to your attorney to get your case started. The attorney has the right to ask for more money once the retainer is exhausted or below a certain dollar amount. The attorney’s fees are $150 per hour.


What happens next & what you need to do

Once your application has been submitted along with the processing fee and all necessary documentation, we’ll review your request. Please allow up to two weeks to process your completed application, signed waiver and documents.

If you qualify for this program, you’ll be sent (via mail or email) the attorney’s contact information. Then, you must call the lawyer yourself to set up a meeting. Generally, the process takes several weeks from the time the application is received to the time you meet with the attorney.

Once you schedule an appointment, you should discuss any questions with your lawyer, The Moderate Means staff cannot help you with this information.