1. What kinds of cases does the Legal Aid Society handle?
Legal Aid provides services to financially eligible citizens of Palm Beach County in the following areas of law:
• Family Law: Divorce where there is domestic violence and/or custody of children is involved
• Domestic Violence: Extension of Restraining Order hearings
• Juvenile Law: Dependency & delinquency matters upon court appointment
• Immigration Law: Naturalization matters
• Elder Law: Abuse & exploitation of the elderly, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, housing and consumer matters
• Legal Matters Affecting HIV Infected Individuals: Employment, insurance, disability benefits, health care matters, housing and consumer matters
• Housing Discrimination: Discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or gender identity and expression.
2. Does the Legal Aid Society handle criminal cases?
No, we do not. If you are charged with a criminal offense and cannot afford an attorney you should request a public defender when you first appear before a judge.
3. Do you handle child support cases?
Generally, we do not handle child support cases.
4. Do you handle immigration cases?
Yes, but, due to our limited staff, we must limit the types of cases that our Immigration Advocacy Project handles. To find out what kinds of immigration cases we handle or if you are eligible for immigration services please call 561-655-8944 ext. 233.
5. Do you offer consultations?
Due to our limited staff, the Legal Aid Society does not offer consultation services. If you wish to consult an attorney, or if your matter does not fall within the scope of our services, the Palm Beach County Bar Association provides a service, Lawyer’s Referral Service. PLEASE NOTE: There is a cost of $30 for a 30-minute consultation. You may reach the Lawyer’s Referral Service at 561-687-3266.
6. Do you give legal advice over the phone?
No. Due to the constraints of law, and as we have a process by which you must qualify financially for our services, the Legal Aid Society is unable to give phone consultations.
7. How do I get to your office?
Our main office is located at 423 Fern Street, Suite 200 in downtown West Palm Beach. If you take I-95 either north or south, please exit on Okeechobee Boulevard east. Continue east on Okeechobee. You will pass the Kravis Center on the left, the Convention Center on the right and then City Place on the left. Once you cross the railroad tracks after City Place, the next street is Quadrille. Make a left on Quadrille and continue on Quadrille until you see Fern Street, which will be about three blocks. Make a right on Fern Street and our building will be on the left hand side. Our address is 423 Fern Street, Suite 200. We are on the second floor.
Please note that parking for our building is by meter only.You may park at the City Garage which is located on the NE corner of Evernia and Dixie. To get to the City Garage, continue on Quadrille past Fern and go to Evernia. Make a right on Evernia, cross Dixie Highway and the entrance to the City Garage will be on your left.
8. Is there a fee for obtaining legal services from the Legal Aid Society?
Although there is no fee for any of Legal Aid’s services, you must be a citizen of Palm Beach County, and you must qualify financially for many programs. This is based upon your annual income which, in most cases, cannot exceed 125% – 150% of the federal income guidelines, currently $14,362.50 (125%) to $17,235.00 (150%) for one person. If you have more than one person in your household this number is different. To find out if you qualify please call 561-655-8944 and speak to one of our intake paralegals. PLEASE NOTE: Although there is no fee for legal service you may be asked to assist with litigation costs (e.g. deposition fees, witness fees, etc.) in highly contested legal matters.
9. Are there other options for me if Legal Aid cannot represent me in my case?
Yes. One of the projects developed by Legal Aid is our Pro Bono Project. This was established to help those people whose cases fall outside our areas of expertise – such as bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, tax and consumer cases. We have access to over 2,500 attorneys in Palm Beach County who have generously donated their time to assisting you in these types of matters. You must still meet the same financial guidelines as Legal Aid’s in-house services. Also, for simple divorces and some other matters Legal Aid, in collaboration with Court Administration, has established the Self-Help Center on the sixth floor of the Palm Beach County Courthouse in Downtown West Palm Beach. You may contact them at 561-355-7048.
10. How is the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County funded?
We are funded by federal, state and county grants, as well as through the generous support of charitable foundations and organizations, including the following:
Allegany Franciscan Ministries
Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc.
Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County
Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County
Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties
Community Services Department of Palm Beach County – Ryan White C.A.R.E. Act Funds
Florida Bar Foundation
Foundation for Indigent Guardianship
Goody Two Shoes Foundation
Lost Tree Village Charitable Foundation
Palm Beach County Department of Economic Stability
Private Attorney and Corporate Contributions
Retirement Research Foundation
Southern Poverty Law Center
State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs
State of Florida Office of the Attorney General – Victims of Crime Act Funds
Town of Palm Beach United Way
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – Fair Housing Initiatives Program
U.S. Department of Justice – Violence Against Women Act
U.S. Department of the Treasury – Internal Revenue Service/Taxpayer Advocate Service
United Way of Palm Beach County
William and Helen Thomas Charitable Foundation
If you have other questions, call us. Our phone is 561-655-8944 and our toll free number is 1-800-403-9353.