Johnson County Court offers free assistance for family law cases
The Johnson County District Court Help Center is designed primarily to assist those who cannot afford an attorney in family law cases and in eviction cases. The Help Center is located on the first floor of the Johnson County Courthouse, (100 N. Kansas Avenue, Olathe.)
“The Help Center was designed to meet the constitutional right of all citizens for access to our courts but who are unable to afford legal representation,” says Keven M. P. O'Grady. Johnson County District Court Judge.
“While not intended to replace effective legal representation, The Help Center insures that unrepresented people obtain basic and necessary information about the laws, rules and procedures used in the court system in general and in Johnson County District Court that affect their cases.”
At the Help Center, clients involved in family law cases can locate, fill out and file the necessary papers and forms in one location. Qualifying individuals may obtain limited legal assistance from Kansas Legal Services staff attorneys on-site two days per week.
Resources and self-help forms offered at the Help Center:
- Divorce (with or without children)
- Paternity cases
- Child Support cases
- Parenting Plans
- Notice of Hearings
- Motions to modify
- Child Support Worksheets
- Rent and Eviction
- Adult Name Change
Reasons the Help Center is needed
- In 2013, there were 620 new divorce, paternity, and custody/support cases filed by parties without lawyers.
- A third of divorce cases without children involve unrepresented parties as do one in five divorces with children.
- There are continuing requests after the initial case is concluded that involve changes in parenting time or in the amount of child support or maintenance a parties pays or receives.
A large number of these motions involve at least one parent who is not represented by an attorney.
Family law cases require significant court time and resources and making sure that court approved forms are filed correctly will aid both the court and the parties.
The Help Center is a collaborative effort by Johnson County judges, the Johnson County Clerk of the Court and court staff who visited a similar and successful program used by New York courts.
Kansas Legal Services and the Johnson County Bar Foundation were instrumental in establishing the on-site attorney assistance program.
The Help Center is located on the first floor on the east side of the courthouse and will be open from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Friday when the courthouse is open.