Normally, if you can’t afford an attorney for a civil court case, you can get an attorney at your local legal aid office. In the past few years, more people have become financially eligible for legal aid, but legal aid offices nationally have shrunk due to lack of funding. This is where A2J programs come in!
To help meet the need, A2J programs were designed to help litigants in housing, divorce, paternity, small estates, probates, name changes, and on and on, when these litigants do not have an attorney to help them with their case. The program’s beauty is in its simplicity. A2J asks the user a series of simple questions in plain language about their case. The program uses the responses to populate a form for the litigant to give to the judge, file with the clerk, or generally use to help his or her case.
It’s also free. It can help unrepresented litigants save their housing from eviction, settle a claim in surrogate’s court, or help with child support orders.
In recent years, studies have shown that legal service providers have been unable to serve around 75% of the people that request assistance due to only a lack of funding. Technology has been at the forefront of increasing low-income, limited English proficiency (LEP) speakers, and other vulnerable populations access to justice. Access to justice is the concept that one’s income, location, education level, or ability to speak English should not negatively impact one’s civil court case. A poor outcome in this type of court case could have serious implications, such as loss of housing, income, or other necessary services.
For a list of A2J program that can help you complete court paperwork click here: New York A2J Programs.