Child Support and Child Custody: Legal Resources

The Evanston Public Library has a variety of resources to help answer your questions about child support and child custody. Our books on child support and child custody are located on the second floor, at call number 346.0173.  You can also consult these local free and low-cost resources:

American Bar Association Free Legal Answers – Illinois

  • A free service that answers civil (not criminal) legal questions for low-income residents of Illinois. After logging in to the website, answer a few questions to see if you qualify to use this service. Those who qualify can ask volunteer attorneys a specific question about your civil legal issue. You’ll receive an email telling you when your question receives a response, and then can log back in to see the response to your question and ask more questions.
  • Website Address: https://il.freelegalanswers.org/

Ascend Justice

  • We currently provide the following types of legal assistance to individuals and families:
    • Economic legal services for survivors of gender-based violence such as help with finances and housing
    • Family defense legal services for families who have DCFS investigations or appeals
    • Family law services for survivors of gender-based violence such as help with divorces, custody arrangements, visitation, and child support
    • Orders of protection services for survivors of gender-based violence
    • Immigration services for survivors of gender-based violence
  • Phone:  312.325.9155
  • Website:  www.ascendjustice.org

Ayuda Legal Illinois

Catholic Charities Legal Assistance

  • Catholic Charities Legal Assistance (CCLA) provides legal services to low income individuals who are not represented by a lawyer. Our telephone advice line assists clients who are representing themselves by advising them of their rights and responsibilities as well as how to navigate the legal process when necessary. CCLA also offers a variety of other legal services, including representation in a limited number of areas and advice desks for face to face consultations. Please see website for specific information.
  • CCLA’s services are offered in both English and Spanish without regard to a person’s citizenship status or religious affiliation. Most of our services are provided free of charge. Clients who do not qualify for free services may be charged a minimal fee. CCLA will provide free services to clients who have a foreclosure related issue and whose income is below four hundred percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Servicios están disponibles en Español.
  • Phone: (312) 948-6821
  • Website:  https://www.catholiccharities.net/GetHelp/OurServices/LegalServices/CCLA.aspx

Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Call-A-Lawyer Service:

  • The Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service has over 300 prescreened, qualified lawyers experienced in almost every area of law. Cost: $30, if you meet with the lawyer you are referred to.
  • Phone: (312) 554-2001
  • Website: https://lrs.chicagobar.org
  • You can also speak to a lawyer for free on the 3rd Saturday of every month, with the CBA’s Call-A-Lawyer program. Call (312) 554-2001 from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the program dates to speak to a volunteer Lawyer Referral Service attorney for general legal advice and self-help strategies.
  • See website for after-hours lawyers available on call for Criminal Defense, Domestic Relations/Family Law, and Personal Injury.

Chicago Bar Foundation – Limited Scope/Bundled Services

  • Find lawyers who offer limited-scope representation/unbundled services. These lawyers allow you to hire them for a specific task. This is less expensive than hiring a lawyer under a traditional, full-service model. Some examples of limited scope services include:
    – Preparing legal paperwork for you;
    – Reviewing legal paperwork you prepared on your own;
    – Serving court papers on the other party;
    – Preparing a defense or a legal argument;
    – Drafting a demand letter or response letter;
    – Negotiating or reviewing a settlement agreement;
    – Coaching you on how to appear in court on your own; and
    – Appearing in court for a specific hearing (usually the most complicated or important one) while you appear in court on your own for all other scheduled dates.
  • Website: https://chicagobarfoundation.org/limitedscope/

Chicago Kent College of Law Legal Clinic

  • The Law Offices of Chicago-Kent is a teaching law firm with a dual mission – to provide high-quality clinical education to more than 150 student interns and externs who enroll each semester, and to deliver outstanding and competitively priced legal services to our clients. We offer client legal services in the following practice areas – please note that all of the attorneys charge legal fees for their services: Criminal Defense Litigation, Plaintiffs Employment Discrimination, Civil Rights Litigation, Entrepreneurial Law, Family Law, Health and Disability Law (Vaccine Injury Law Project), Open Government, Tax Law
  • Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Phone: (312) 906-5050
  • Email: lawoffices@kentlaw.edu
  • Website: http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/seeking-legal-help

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

  • CVLS is an organization of over 3,000 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans. Our services are free, accessible and real. With 22 legal clinics across the Chicago area, hosted evenings and weekends at community organizations and churches, where you can talk with an attorney about your legal problem, CVLS works to ensure that everyone has access to justice, not just those who can afford it.
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday
  • Phone: 312.332.1624
  • Website: http://www.cvls.org

Children’s Legal Center

  • The Children’s Legal Center focuses on providing legal services to children and families with children. Some common services we provide are:
    T Visas: victims of human trafficking
    Asylum (Petitions with USCIS and Defensive in Immigration Court)
    VAWA Petitions (Violence Against Women Act): available to children and families of United States Citizens who are the victims of domestic abuse )
    SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status): available to children who are victims of abuse/neglect by their parent(s)
    U Visas : victims of crimes
  • Address:  939 W North Ave., Suite 750 Chicago, Illinois 60642
  • Phone Number: (312) 722-6642 English, (312) 392-1204 Spanish
  • Website:  https://www.childrenslegalcenterchicago.org/childrens-legal-center

City of Evanston Victim Services Program

  • Victim Services provides social services to crime victims and witnesses and to residents seeking social service assistance in non-crime situations.
  • Additionally services provided include:
    • Crisis Intervention Counseling, Information and Resources for Crime Victims and Witnesses
    • Medical Advocacy for Sexual Assaults, Domestic Violence and Physical Abuse cases.
    • Referrals or Assistance in obtaining Orders of Protection
    • Court Advocacy to assist victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system, including status on court dates and meetings with State’s Attorney
    • Assist Domestic Violence Victims with Warning Signs of Domestic Violence, Safety Planning and provide Shelter Referrals.
    • Assist eligible Victims with filing for Monetary Reimbursement under the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act
    • Personal Advocacy such as interceding with employers so that Victims and Witnesses may attend court and intervening with medical billing issues related to injuries sustained during crime
    • Legal Resources and Referrals regarding Domestic Violence & Custody Issues
  • Phone: 847-866-5015
  • Website: https://www.cityofevanston.org/government/departments/police/victim-youth-services

Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court Self Help Center

  • The Self Help Center has links to resources for self-represented (pro se) litigants appearing before the Circuit Court of Cook County. Topics include:
    • Finding An Attorney,
    • Family, Juvenile, Adoption and Name Change
    • Criminal Cases and Traffic Offenses
    • Lawsuits, Injuries, Small Claims and Debts
    • Going to Court
    • Housing
    • Self Help Resources in and around the Daley Center
    • Wills, Probate, Estates and Guardianship
  • The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County also provides access to Cook County Court Forms and online access Case Documents from cases before the Circuit Court of Cook County. You can also find links to Circuit Court of Cook County and Illinois Court rules here.
  • Phone: 312-603-5030
  • Website: http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/NewWebsite/Services/Self-Help-Center.aspx

Cook County Circuit Court – Orders of Protection

  • This website gives free information about Orders of Protection in the Cook County Court system, including who is protected, who may file for an Order of Protection, how and where to file an Order of Protection, and contact information for organizations that will assist victims of domestic violence who cannot afford an attorney.
  • Mailing Address: Domestic Relations Division 50 West Washington Street Richard J. Daley Center Office of the Presiding Judge – Suite 1901A Chicago, IL 60602
  • Phone: (312) 603-3025 Main Office
  • Fax: (312) 603-8453 FAX
  • Website: http://www.cookcountycourt.org/ABOUTTHECOURT/CountyDepartment/DomesticRelationsDivision/OrdersofProtection.aspx

Cook County Law Library:

  • Main Branch Location: 69 W. Washington Suite 1600 Chicago, Illinois 60602. Phone: 312) 603-5423. Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Open Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for attorneys presenting a current ARDC card and current photo ID, and for litigants presenting official court papers stamped within a year and current photo ID. Sun: Closed.
  • Skokie Branch: 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077. Phone: (847) 470-7298 Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Sat-Sun: Closed
    The public can access the law library catalog online, access legal research online, view Cook County Ordinances online, contact reference staff for assistance with legal research, or visit the law library to access electronic resources such as Westlaw and Lexis, and to visit the library’s Self-Help Web Center.
  • Website: https://www.cookcountyil.gov/agency/law-library

Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS)

  • Legal Aid Hotline for low-income residents of Cook County. Experienced attorneys answer questions on a wide range of civil law issues free of charge. Operates daily Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesdays until 7:30 pm. Clients who do not qualify for free services may be charged a $25 fee. Referrals are given if in-court representation is required.
    Phone: 312-738-9200
  • Website: https://www.carpls.org

FindLaw.com

  • FindLaw is a free online resource that provides legal information, lawyer profiles and a community to help you make legal decisions. FindLaw has sections to help you learn about the law, find a lawyer, join an online discussion forum with other FindLaw users or chat with an attorney online, or find legal and business forms.
  • Website: http://www.findlaw.com

Free Legal Answers (IL.freelegalanswers.org)

  • Free Legal Answers is a secure website (https://il.freelegalanswers.org/) where lower income Illinois residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems then volunteer lawyers log onto the site and select questions to answer. It’s a virtual walk-in legal clinic.

Gale Legal Forms – IL

  • Gale Legal Forms offers a wide selection of essential state-specific (and multi-state) legal forms that may be customized for the most common legal procedures..
    For use inside EPL, or by EPL card holders. Access through https://www.epl.org/category/resources/legal/

Greater Chicago Legal Clinic

  • GCLC offers a variety of programs and services to meet the legal needs of underserved individuals and families in Greater Chicago. We provide quality legal representation to help with everything from divorce, domestic violence, and other family issues to economic and housing stability to environmental law. While some of our services are free, others involve fees on a sliding scale based on income.
  • Phone:  773.731.1762
  • Website:  www.gclclaw.org

Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network

  • A statewide hotline that provides legal information, advice, brief services (including the preparation and review of legal documents), and referrals to veterans, service members, national guard, reservists, and their spouses and dependents.
  • CALL 855-IL-AFLAN (855-452-3526) TO TALK TO AN ATTORNEY if you are a veteran, service member, national guard, reservist, or spouse or dependent. Call to talk about discharge upgrades, benefits appeals, and civil legal problems like Family, Housing, and Consumer issues.

Illinois Compiled Statutes

Illinois Legal Aid Online

  • ILAO is an independent nonprofit organization that provides web-based legal help and information for lower-income Illinoisans.  Evanston Public Library partners with Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) as a Legal Self-Help Center. A legal self-help center is a place where you can learn about the law, your legal rights, and how to go to court. If you have a legal issue, you can come to the Evanston Public Library to:
    – use a computer for free,
    – search online for answers to your legal questions,
    – chat online with legal navigators,
    – find and prepare court forms,
    – get referrals for additional legal assistance, and
    – get other help navigating the ILAO website and services.
  • Website Address: http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/
  • Contact Email: https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/node/add/support-ticket
  • Phone Number: 312-977-9047

Illinois Supreme Court Approved State-wide Forms

The Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice has approved standardized forms (available at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/default.asp), which are required to be accepted in all Illinois courts. With respect to divorce, child support, and maintenance, the Court has approved the following forms: http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Forms/approved/divorce/divorce.asp

Justice Entrepreneurs Project

  • Lawyers in the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) provide lower cost, quality legal services that often include fixed fees and flexible representation options (like unbundled, a la carte services). Many JEP lawyers have fee estimates on their websites, so you can find out what it might cost to hire a lawyer
  • Phone: 312-546-3282
  • Website:  http://jepchicago.org/
    • Lawyers in the JEP currently assist clients in the following areas:
    • Family Law – including divorce, spousal support, child support, custody, visitation and orders of protection
    • Landlord/Tenant – including eviction proceedings and security deposit claims
    • Consumer Law – including debt collection issues, consumer disputes and Chapter 7 bankruptcy
    • Estate Law – including wills, probate and guardianships
    • Employment Law – including discrimination and wage claims
    • Small Business/Non-profit – including business formation, contracts and intellectual property issues
    • Real Property Law – including foreclosure proceedings and real estate purchase/sale
    • Criminal misdemeanors, traffic tickets, license suspensions and ordinance violations
    • Immigration Law – including visas, residency, naturalization and asylum

Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services

  • We at the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services continue our commitment to securing access to equal justice by providing legal representation and assistance on domestic violence, family law, consumer and housing issues, elder abuse and financial exploitation, human trafficking, and victims of crime. We present “Know Your Rights” workshops on all the areas of law we practice and lead several legal clinics. In partnership with Metropolitan Family Services, we offer the most comprehensive services to our clients by providing meaningful opportunities to move up and out of poverty.
  • Phone: (312) 986-4105
  • Website:  https://www.metrofamily.org/legal-aid-society/

Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF)

  • Free legal aid for low income people in Cook County. Priorities are family law, human and civil rights, safety issues, and economic stability.
  • Address: 120 S. LaSalle Street, Ste. 900, Chicago, IL 60603
  • Phone: 312-341-1070
  • Fax: 312-341-1041
  • Website: https://www.legalaidchicago.org/get-help/

Loyola University Law School Civitas ChildLaw Clinic

  • The Civitas ChildLaw Clinic represents children in a variety of settings, focusing primarily on child protection (abuse and neglect) and high-conflict child custody disputes. Other areas of practice include education, immigration, delinquency, and international child abduction
  • Address: Philip H. Corboy Law Center 25 E. Pearson St. Suite 1107 Chicago, IL 60611
  • E-mail: childlaw-center@luc.edu
  • Phone: 312.915.6481
  • Website: https://www.luc.edu/law/academics/centersinstitutesandprograms/civitaschildlawcenter/

Loyola University Chicago Community Law Center Clinic

  • The Community Law Center Clinic serves clients whose main source of income is public assistance or SSI as well as those classified as the “working poor,” who are people struggling to meet their obligations even though they have jobs. Cases handled by the clinic focus on family issues, landlord-tenant conflicts and benefit questions.
  • Website: https://www.luc.edu/law/academics/clinical-programs/communitylawcenterclinic/
  • Phone: 312.915.7830

Other free sources of law online:

  • Legal Information Institute (LII): LII is a not-for-profit group that provides open access to legal materials online. Resources include federal law, the Constitution, U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), Supreme Court cases, Federal Rules, State law resources, State statutes by topic, Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), Uniform Laws, World legal resources, and the Wex Legal Encyclopedia, which explains legal terms and topics. Website: https://www.law.cornell.edu
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN): a source of open-access journal articles on a variety of social science topics, including law. Use this website for access to legal (and other) scholarship: http://www.ssrn.com/en/

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