New Philadelphia, Ohio - Tuscarawas County residents planning to file for divorce may be eligible to free receive assistance during the Divorce Legal Clinic on September 19.
The clinic will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in New Philadelphia and is being sponsored by the Tuscarawas County Bar Association, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services and the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.
During the clinic, qualifying participants will have an opportunity to review forms with an attorney who can also answer any questions about the divorce process.
Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Administrator Elizabeth Stephenson says the goal of the clinic is to help divorce plaintiffs representing themselves become better informed so they can navigate the filing process faster and more efficiently.
“What we have on our website is a wonderful set of forms for people who could file on their own, with or without children, and this session is meant to guide you through those so you can get some expert help before you try to file your own,” she explains.
Stephenson says that in recent years, the court has seen an increasing number of plaintiffs choosing to file their own divorce, either because they can’t afford an attorney or because they have done some research online and are confident that they can file on their own.
“Unfortunately, they’re not lawyers and they might do themselves a disservice or complicate their case or make their case last longer or forget to fill out the right forms. What we’re trying to respond is, ‘We’ve put a set of forms out there and we’d like you to use them,’ and here’s legal aid pitching in and saying, ‘We’re even going to have a session to help you,’” she says.
The clinic is open to individuals with incomes at or below 200 percent of the Poverty Level who are planning to file for their own divorce. Pre-registration is required by September 18 by calling Southeastern Ohio Legal Services at 330-339-3998 or 1-800-686-3670.
The Emmanuel Lutheran Church is located at 202 East High Ave. in New Philadelphia.