Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions. If you do not find an answer to your question, or for more information, please feel to contact us.
What kind of cases does LAMS handle?
Legal Aid handles civil areas of law including:
- Community Counsel Project (for Non-Profits)
- Divorce Clinic
- Domestic Violence*
- Family Law
- Other Legal Services
- Senior Wills (55 years or older)
*Domestic violence may involve battering, threats, intimidation, and/or isolation. Legal Aid of Manasota can help you obtain immediate relief from domestic violence and will also help you take any legal steps necessary to protect and support your family, including dissolution of marriage and establishing child custody and support.
Who is eligible for Legal Aid services?
Any person who resides in Sarasota or Manatee counties or whose legal problem is located in either county may apply for assistance. Only those applicants who meet our case eligibility guidelines and income guidelines will be accepted. Please understand many residents who do qualify may not be accepted due to limited resources.
Are there fees associated with my case?
There are no fees for any of the Legal Aid services. However, at times there may be fees associated with filing a case and it will vary from case to case. In certain cases, like divorces, a client can apply for Civil Indigent Status. This means if you meet certain financial criteria and your application is approved by the Clerk of Circuit Courts there may be no filing fees. Clients can look online at their local County Clerks website for more information on filing fees.
Where can I get an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent status?
An individual can go to their local Clerk of Circuit Courts office or any Legal Aid office in person and request an application.
Do you give legal advice over the phone?
No. If you need legal advice you must first be prescreened to qualify for an appointment to come into our office and speak with an attorney.
How do I apply?
When you call the Legal Aid Office you will be pre-screened over the telephone and, if you qualify, you will be given an appointment to meet with an intake worker. If your case is accepted, we will attempt to place your case with a volunteer lawyer who has agreed to waive their fee. Please keep in mind that there may be miscellaneous expenses connected with your case. Your lawyer will discuss these with you and explain options if you cannot afford these expenses.
Is there a fee for meeting with one of your attorneys?
If you qualify for our program at Legal Aid, then our services will be provided for free. In some instances, there may be other costs associated with your case such as filing fees, deposition fees, transcript fees, translator fees, or other court costs that you may be responsible for.
Do you handle child support cases?
Generally, we do not accept child support cases unless it is part of a dissolution of marriage (divorce).