My question is what kind of loans can you get as a parent in law school? Is there more help financially than traditional students who don't have these obligations? I'm also really curious how single parents make it through law school financially. I have a lot of respect for those of you that mentioned your experience with multiple children.
Like Brutus said, some schools will increase your law school budget to accomodate the increased living expenses that come with having a family. Keep in mind though that your spouse's income will be counted against your financial aid. At Yale for example, they require 75% of your spouse's after tax income to go towards paying tuition and living expenses.
As I mentioned before, both my husband and I will be full-time students when I start law school. We will live off of a combination of savings and loans/grants. All of the schools that I applied to had some form of graduate housing which ranged from a studio to 4 br apartments. I have found that with our savings, a 2-3 br fits comfortably within our budget.
So, here's my advice:
1. Look into the size of the budget at the schools you are considering. Divide the living allowance by 12 to see what your monthly budget will be. Compare that to the housing costs in the area (both university affiliated and privately owned) and see what you can afford solely based on that budget.
2. Find out how much the school would be willing to increase your budget. Do they have a separate married student budget? Will they accomodate your day care expenses? Medical expenses?
3. Estimate how much money your wife will be able to make. Since it is likely to negatively impact your financial aid award, you may want to think twice about this. It might be more financially savvy if she continues to be a stay-at-home mom.
4. If possible, get rid of all of your debt before you start law school. It puts an unnecessary strain on your budget.
You will be able to take out loans to cover tuition and living expenses up to the limits set by the law school. However, this can be a significant amount of debt (~180K). So, you may want to consider going to a school that will offer your significant merit-based scholarships or need-based grants. But keep in mind (as I hear so often on these forums) that the lower your school's rank, the harder it will be to get a job. That last bit is speculation though (some would say a fact but I have no personal experiences w/ it so I'll just leave it at that) so take it with a grain of salt.
A final tip is to use one school's FA offer to negotiate a better deal w/ other schools.