I am a civil defendant, but do not have enough money to hire a lawyer. Can I get a lawyer to represent me for free?
Public defenders at no cost are made available to those with limited financial resources in certain types of civil proceedings, including involuntary mental health commitments, terminations of parental rights, and proceedings where a loss of liberty is at stake. In such matters, a party seeking the appointment of a public defender should make a request from the judge to whom the case is assigned.

As to other civil matters, there are ways that legal representation may be available at little or no cost to people with limited financial resources. To see if you qualify, contact of the following resources:

Indiana Legal Services – South Bend, 574-234-8121
Volunteer Lawyer Network, 574-277-0075

Also, the St. Joseph County Bar Association has a lawyer referral service. The telephone number is 574-235-9657. Referrals by that service are not necessarily free or discounted. But many members of the bar are often open to discussing reduced fees and/or payment plans for persons of limited financial means.

A mediation service, the ADR Mediation Plan, is also available in divorce and family law matters, such as child custody, property division, paternity, parenting time (visitation), and support. Mediation costs are determined on a sliding-fee scale which is based on income. For information, contact the ADR Mediation Plan at 574-235- 9551.

Show All Answers

1. Are electronic devices permitted in the court houses?
2. What if I have evidence on my electronic device that I want to present to the court at trial?
3. I do not have a lawyer. How do I sue someone or file something with the court?
4. I am a civil defendant, but do not have enough money to hire a lawyer. Can I get a lawyer to represent me for free?
5. I am a criminal defendant, but do not have enough money to hire a lawyer. Can I get a lawyer to represent me for free?
6. Is there someplace my children can go while I am in or awaiting court?
7. When is my next Court date?
8. Who do I contact to check on the status of a case?
9. What do I do if my attorney does not arrive?
10. What should I wear to court?
11. What if I need a translator?
12. Where can I go to get child support records or a payment printout?
13. Where do I pay my Court fees?
14. Where can I review a court file?
15. Where do I pick up court forms?
16. How do I get a transcript?
17. Who do I contact to get a copy of my birth certificate?