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The First Duty of Society is Justice.

buzzfeed.com“The first duty of society is justice.” – Alexander Hamilton

2-1-1 has many listings for local, state and national legal counseling services covering issues such as immigrationelder lawliving willstrust preparationadult guardianship and more.

These agencies in Marion County take the commitment to justice to heart and provide free or sliding scale legal services to families with low incomes. A post about legal services wouldn’t be complete without a disclaimer. Always clarify with the agencies as services and fees may change over time.

Did you know that Kids Central provides legal counseling for individuals who are raising relative children(caregivers) through their Kinship Program? Two qualifications are you must graduate from their support group in addition to meeting their income guidelines. If you meet the qualifications, the service is free. For non-dependency cases(the child is not your dependent yet), if the birth parents are compliant, then Kids Central can assist you with filing for custody. For dependency cases(the child is your dependent), the agency can assist you with a will.

If you or a loved one are ages 50-64 with a severe or disabling medical or mental health condition, and you’ve been denied benefits, CJ Henry Law Firm has your back. They provide pro-bono services on a case by case basis.

Facing foreclosure? Dispute with your landlord? Filing for bankruptcy? Need help with disputing public benefit issues? Custody battle with an abusive partner? Community Legal Services of Mid Florida provides guidance and representation on many of these needs.

A year and a half ago, Mary* called 2-1-1 asking for help. She was badly hurt and needed to get out of an abusive marriage. For 14 years her husband had been beating her with their three children as witnesses. She was not allowed to leave the house, have friends or work. She was far from her community and her husbands family threatened her. It was so severe that he made them move from state to state as the neighbors began to find out what was going on. The cycle ended in Marion County. 2-1-1 told her about Community Legal Services of Mid Florida. She didn’t trust them at first, and it took until they were able to get an injunction to protect her from him before she believed they were really on her side.  CLSMF was also able to assist her with a divorce as well as getting sole custody of her children. Her ex-husband was imprisoned for his crimes against her. Today she is independent, working and able to support her family. They are all receiving counseling and you can see a complete change in her. She smiles now. CLSMF staff shared, “I believe her husband would have killed her if she hadn’t gotten out.”

*Name changed for confidentiality purposes

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