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News Archive

Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Wayne County Grand Opening Today

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Residents of Detroit and Wayne County who are unable to afford an attorney now have a new place to go for assistance – the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Wayne County.  Located in downtown Detroit at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Room 1911, the Self-Help Center is staffed by navigators who can help visitors use the new Michigan Legal Help website (www.MichiganLegalHelp.org) to gain information about how to handle simple civil legal matters.  The Self-Help Center is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Wayne County was selected to be part of a pilot project overseen by the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force.  The project includes the Michigan Legal Help website and several affiliated local pilot self-help centers (including Centers in Oakland, Allegan and Oscoda counties).  The Task Force was established in 2010 by (then) Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly to improve and coordinate resources for self-represented persons in Michigan.       

“We were pleased to be selected as a Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center site,” said Hon. Maria Oxholm, Presiding Judge for the 3rd Circuit Court’s Family Domestic Division.  “Wayne County courts have some of the highest caseloads in the state, including some very economically-depressed areas of the state. This means that our judges see a staggering number of self-represented persons each year, typically individuals who simply cannot afford to hire an attorney.  A staffed self-help center will help these persons as well as the courts to more efficiently resolve their legal problems”

“The Third Circuit Court and collaborating partners applied to be a Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center site because we are committed to serving those in need and empowering self-represented persons to handle their legal issues properly in our courts,” added Hon. Megan Maher Brennan, Judge for the 3rd Circuit Court’s Family Division.   “We believe that this Self-Help Center will make a positive difference in the lives of people who cannot hire an attorney to represent them.”

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Wayne County is an Internet-based self-help center that makes use of the free legal information available at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org.  In addition to the website, self-help center staff (called ‘navigators’) will be available to help visitors find what they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms that are available on the website.  Navigators cannot give legal advice.

The Michigan Legal Help website was created to make legal information easier to understand and to show people who need to handle simple legal matters themselves how to navigate the court system properly and efficiently. The website contains articles explaining specific areas of law, toolkits, forms and instructional checklists.  Many court forms can be filled out online using a simple question and answer interview format.  The website can also help users look for a lawyer in their area if they need more assistance.  The website also includes information about local community services and details about the court(s) where a website visitor’s legal issue may be handled.

Currently, there are specific sections regarding family law matters, protection from abuse, housing issues, consumer law problems, and expungement. Family law matters include divorce, custody, and child support.  Consumer legal issues covered are suits regarding debts, small claims, installment payment plans and garnishment.  The housing section deals with leases, security deposits, landlord/tenant issues, mobile homes, eviction and subsidized housing.  Expungement provides information about setting aside an adult criminal conviction or a juvenile adjudication.  Although it does not cover all areas of law, new content will be added frequently.

“We are excited to be working with so many community partners in Wayne County,” said Project Director Angela Tripp. Tripp is the project director for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which was selected by the Task Force to create and manage the pilot website and self-help center project.  Tripp said, “These stakeholders include judges and staff from the Wayne County Courts, Friend of the Court, Administration, and Clerk’s office, and representatives from the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Man Power Mentoring, Inc., the Detroit Public Library, the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association, the Arab American Bar Association, Legal Aid and Defenders Association, the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic, and the Eastern District of Michigan’s Probation Office. This community-based approach to operating a self-help center is based on the model which Illinois Legal Aid Online has used successfully for more than a decade.”

The Michigan Legal Help web site and affiliated local self-help centers are part of the overall work of the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force to promote coordinated and quality assistance for persons representing themselves in civil legal matters in Michigan. The Task Force is a statewide collaboration of judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofit legal aid agencies, legal self-help centers, libraries and many others. For more information about the Solutions on Self Help Task Force and it other projects go to www.sostf.org.

Michigan Legal Help is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation and The Legal Services Corporation.

Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oakland County Now Open for Business!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Residents of Oakland County who are unable to afford an attorney now have a new place to go for assistance – the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oakland County.  Located in the Adams-Pratt Law Library in the Oakland County Courthouse at 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac the Self-Help Center is staffed by navigators who can help visitors use the Michigan Legal Help website at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org to gain information about how to handle simple civil legal matters.  The Self-Help Center is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Another branch of the Self-Help Center is located in the Oakland County Clerk’s office, and will be available from 8:00am until 4:30 pm Monday through Friday as well.

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oakland County was selected to be part of a pilot project overseen by the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force.  The project includes the Michigan Legal Help website and several affiliated local pilot self-help centers (with three now open in Oakland, Allegan and Oscoda counties).  The Task Force was established in 2010 by (then) Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly to improve and coordinate resources for self-represented persons in Michigan.       

“We were pleased to be selected as a Michigan Legal Help self-help center site,” said Hon. Denise Langford Morris, Judge for the 6th Circuit Court.  “The partnerships and infrastructure that exist to help self-represented litigants in Oakland County will be a great benefit to our center.  Though it is always best to hire a licensed lawyer, if possible, the information available through the center will assist many persons who have to handle simple legal matters themselves.”

“The courts see a large number of persons who are representing themselves, and many seek help from our law library,” added Hon. Joan E. Young, Judge for the 6th Circuit Court.   “Having a staffed self-help center will provide enhanced services to insure better and more efficient outcomes for these self-represented parties.”

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oakland County is an internet-based self-help center that makes use of the free legal information available at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org.  In addition to the website, self-help center staff (called ‘navigators’) will be available to help visitors find what they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms that are available on the website.  Navigators cannot give legal advice.

The Michigan Legal Help website was created to make legal information easier to understand and to show people who need to handle simple legal matters themselves how to navigate the court system properly and efficiently. The website contains articles explaining specific areas of law, toolkits, forms and instructional checklists.  Many court forms can be filled out online using a simple question and answer interview format.  The website can also help users look for a lawyer in their area if they need more assistance.  The website also includes information about local community services and details about the court(s) where a website visitor’s legal issue may be handled.

Currently, there are specific sections regarding family law matters, protection from abuse, housing issues, consumer law problems, and expungement. Family law matters include divorce, custody, and child support.  Consumer legal issues covered are suits regarding debts, small claims, installment payment plans and garnishment.  The housing section deals with leases, security deposits, landlord/tenant issues, mobile homes, eviction and subsidized housing.  Expungement provides information about setting aside an adult criminal conviction or a juvenile adjudication.  Although it does not cover all areas of law, new content will be added frequently.

“We are excited to be working with so many community partners in Oakland County,” said Project Director Angela Tripp. Tripp is the project director for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which was selected by the Task Force to create and manage the pilot website and self-help center project.  Tripp said, “The partners for this self-help center include judges and staff from the Oakland County courts and Clerk’s office, and representatives from the Oakland County Bar Association, the Family Law Assistance Program, the Oakland County Law Library, Common Ground, Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, and Haven. This community-based approach to operating a self-help center is based on the model which Illinois Legal Aid Online has used successfully for more than a decade.”

The Michigan Legal Help web site and affiliated local self-help centers are part of the overall work of the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force to promote coordinated and quality assistance for persons representing themselves in civil legal matters in Michigan. The Task Force is a statewide collaboration of judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofit legal aid agencies, legal self-help centers, libraries and many others. For more information about the Solutions on Self Help Task Force and it other projects go to www.sostf.org.

Michigan Legal Help is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation and The Legal Services Corporation.

Grand Opening for Allegan County Legal Assistance Center: a Michigan Legal Help Program

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Residents of Allegan County who are unable to afford an attorney now have a new place to go for assistance – the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Allegan County.  Located on the ground level of the Allegan County Circuit Courthouse (113 Chestnut Street), the Self-Help Center is staffed by navigators who can help visitors use the Michigan Legal Help website at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org to gain information about how to represent themselves in simple civil legal matters.  The Self-Help Center is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30am until 5:00pm.

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Allegan County is part of a pilot project overseen by the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force.  The Task Force was established in 2010 by (then) Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly to improve and coordinate resources for self-represented persons.    

“We are very pleased to have a staffed self-help center in our courthouse,” said Hon. Margaret Zuzich Bakker, Judge for the 48th Circuit Court.  “In recent years, the Allegan County Courts have seen a flood of self-represented litigants in a variety of matters.  For example, we estimate that 60% of domestic relations cases are those where people are representing themselves. By getting legal information and assistance from the Self-Help Center, these individuals will be better equipped to bring their cases before the court, which will improve their experiences as well as make court operations smoother.”

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Allegan County is an internet-based self-help center that makes use of the free legal information website www.MichiganLegalHelp.org.  In addition to the website, self-help center staff (called ‘navigators’) will be available to help visitors find what they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms that are available on the website.  Navigators cannot give legal advice.

The Michigan Legal Help website was created to make legal information easier to understand and to show people how to navigate the court system properly and efficiently. The website can also help users look for a lawyer in their area if they need more assistance.  The website contains articles explaining specific areas of law, toolkits, forms and instructional checklists to help prepare people who represent themselves in court.  Many court forms can be filled out online using a simple question and answer interview format.  The website also includes information about local community services and details about the court(s) where a website visitor’s legal issue may be handled. Although it does not cover all areas of law, new content will be added frequently.

There are specific sections regarding family law matters, protection from abuse, housing issues, consumer law problems, and expungement. Family law matters include divorce, custody, and child support.  Consumer legal issues covered are suits regarding debts, small claims, installment payment plans and garnishment.  The housing section deals with leases, security deposits, landlord/tenant issues, mobile homes, eviction and subsidized housing.  Expungement provides information about setting aside an adult criminal conviction or a juvenile adjudication. 

 “We are excited to be working with so many community partners in Allegan County,” said Project Director Angela Tripp. Tripp is the project director for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which was selected by the Task Force to create and manage the pilot website and self-help center project.  Tripp said, “The partners for this self-help center include judges and staff from the Allegan County District, Circuit, and Probate Courts, and representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, Sylvia’s Place, United Way, Safe Harbor children’s Advocacy Center, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, the Allegan County Family Court, Allegan General Hospital, and an individual from the community who will serve as a volunteer navigator. This community-based approach to operating a self-help center is based on the model which Illinois Legal Aid Online has used successfully for more than a decade.”

The Michigan Legal Help web site and affiliated local self-help centers are part of the overall work of the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force to promote coordinated and quality assistance for persons representing themselves in civil legal matters in Michigan. The Task Force is a statewide collaboration of judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofit legal aid agencies, legal self-help centers, libraries and many others. For more information about the Solutions on Self Help Task Force and it other projects go to www.sostf.org.

Michigan Legal Help is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation and The Legal Services Corporation.

Automated Online Divorce Forms interview now available!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If you are looking for information and assistance regarding a divorce, Michigan Legal Help now as a new resource for you - the Automated Online Divorce Forms interview.  After you answer a series of simple questions in the interview, the program uses these answers to complete the forms that you will need to handle your own divorce without a lawyer.  If you find that the process is too hard, or that your particular situation is too complicated, you can use the "Find a Lawyer" portion of the website for information on lawyer referral services in your area.

We suggest that you begin by reading about divorce - there are many articles and common questions on the website to help you learn about child custody, child support, division of property, and many other things that may happen in your divorce.  Please visit one fo the toolkits in the Family section of the website to access the articles, common questions, and the automated forms interview. When you are finished, please send us feedback to let us know how the process worked for you.

Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oscoda County Now Open

Monday, August 20, 2012

Residents of Oscoda County who are unable to afford an attorney now have a new place to go for assistance – the Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oscoda County. Located in the Oscoda County Public Library, the Self-Help Center is staffed by navigators who can help visitors use the Michigan Legal Help website at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org to gain information about how to represent themselves in simple civil legal matters. The Self-Help Center is located at 430 W. 8th Street in Mio, and is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 am until 5:30 pm.

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oscoda County is part of a pilot project overseen by the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force. The Task Force was established in 2010 by (then) Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly to improve and coordinate resources for self-represented persons.

“We are very pleased to have a staffed self-help center in our community,” said Hon. Kathryn J. Root, Oscoda County Probate, District, and Family Division Judge. “Oscoda County is very rural, and there are only three attorneys in the county with private law practices. Oscoda County also has a significant rate of unemployment. The combination of these factors means that a lot of people must represent themselves in court. By getting legal information and assistance from the Self-Help Center, these individuals will be better equipped to bring their cases before the court, which will improve their experiences as well as make court operations smoother.” She adds, “Individuals from surrounding counties are also welcome to visit our Self-Help Center.”

The Michigan Legal Help Self-Help Center of Oscoda County is an internet-based self-help center that makes use of the free legal information website www.MichiganLegalHelp.org. In addition to the website, self-help center staff (called ‘navigators’) will be available to help visitors find what they need on the website, answer questions about court practices and processes, and answer simple questions about forms that are available on the website. Navigators cannot give legal advice.

The Michigan Legal Help website was created to make legal information easier to understand and to show people how to navigate the court system properly and efficiently. The website can also help users look for a lawyer in their area if they need more assistance. The website contains articles explaining specific areas of law, toolkits, forms and instructional checklists to help prepare people who represent themselves in court. Many court forms can be filled out online using a simple question and answer interview format. The website also includes information about local community services and details about the court(s) where a website visitor’s legal issue may be handled. Although it does not cover all areas of law, new content will be added frequently.

There are specific sections regarding family law matters, protection from abuse, housing issues, consumer law problems, and expungement. Family law matters include divorce, custody, and child support. Consumer legal issues covered are suits regarding debts, small claims, installment payment plans and garnishment. The housing section deals with leases, security deposits, landlord/tenant issues, mobile homes, eviction and subsidized housing. Expungement provides information about setting aside an adult criminal conviction or a juvenile adjudication.

“We are excited to be working with so many community partners in Oscoda County,” said Project Director Angela Tripp. Tripp is the project director from the Michigan Poverty Law Program, which was selected by the Task Force to create and manage the pilot website and self-help center project. Tripp said, “The partners for this self-help center include judges and staff from the Oscoda County District, Circuit, and Probate Courts; the Oscoda

County Library; the Oscoda County Human Services Coordinating Council; the Oscoda County Board of Commissioners; and the Council on Aging for Oscoda County. This community-based approach to operating a self-help center is based on the model which Illinois Legal Aid Online has used successfully for more than a decade.”

The Michigan Legal Help web site and affiliated local self-help centers are part of the overall work of the Solutions on Self- Help Task Force to promote coordinated and quality assistance for persons representing themselves in civil legal matters in Michigan. The Task Force is a statewide collaboration of judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofit legal aid agencies, legal self-help centers, libraries and many others. For more information about the Solutions on Self Help Task Force and it other projects go to www.sostf.org.

Michigan Legal Help is funded by the Michigan State Bar Foundation and The Legal Services Corporation.

Michigan Legal Help Website Launch Announced Today, August 17, 2012!

Friday, August 17, 2012

To view the news release and media kit about today's launch of the Michigan Legal Help self-help website, visit the Solutions on Self-Help Task Force website. Please explore all resources available on this new legal website at www.MichiganLegalHelp.org.

Soft Launch of Michigan Legal Help During May-June, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

We are pleased to announce the “soft launch” of the Michigan Legal Help web site. The Michigan Legal Help website is designed as a user-friendly way to help Michigan residents handle some simple legal problems without a lawyer. There are articles you can read to learn about specific areas of the law. You can also use the information here to complete forms and prepare to represent yourself in court. If you need more help, you can search for a lawyer or community service organization in your area.

The web site provides information, not legal advice.  It is not a substitute for hiring a lawyer when one is needed.  If a problem is too complicated, this website will direct the user to a page to help find a local lawyer who can assist.  The website also does not cover all areas of law.  It will provide trustworthy content not only for individuals to use but for local self-help centers too.

This web site is funded by a grant from the Michigan State Bar Foundation (MSBF) as part of the Solutions on Self-Help Taskforce (SOSTF). The SOSTF was created in April 2010 by then Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly to promote greater centralization, coordination, and quality of support for self-represented litigants in Michigan.

A “soft launch” of Michigan Legal Help is planned for May and June, 2012. During this “soft launch,” new content and other site enhancements continue to be added. We hope users will help us make improvements by telling us what you think. We'd love to hear your comments, thoughts, suggestions and ideas. What do you like? What do you think could be improved? Please explore the site and give us your suggestions.

If you can’t find what you need, please come back soon, as we will be adding new legal information content to this site every week.

If you experience any problems, please do let us know and we'll do our best to help. You can give us feedback via the “Tell us what you think” link at the top of the site, or by using the “Contact us” link in the footer of the site. We won’t be able to respond to your comments directly, but we will read your suggestions while we make improvements to the site over the coming weeks. Thank you!

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