There are many common reasons why one of the spouses in a marriage cannot afford a divorce. By “afford a divorce”, I am speaking primarily about being able to afford to retain legal counsel. The reasons for this can vary, from the fact that their spouse is the one that controls the finances, or perhaps they kept their finances separate, and one of the spouses is not in a place financially to hire a lawyer. In any event, there are other ways for someone to get a divorce attorney besides the traditional route of just hiring and paying one.
If your spouse controls both of your finances, you can approach this several ways. One way is to try and see if you can find an attorney that will provide a free consultation, so that at least you are taking one step in the right direction. Some may even be willing to take your case on, and work out a plan on how they will get compensated at a later time. In addition, the court may grant your request for your monied spouse to pay your legal fees.
Another option is an uncontested divorce, which is simple and quick because it does not involve a long, drawn out divorce process. There is one other option, although it is highly unadvised, which is to represent yourself in the divorce, meaning you will be your own attorney. But in the case of not being able to afford most attorney fees, see if you can obtain pro bono, or legal representation without charge.