For those living well below the national poverty line, getting affordable legal aid in rural parts of Texas can be tough.
To help Highland Lakes residents who qualify, the Llano County Library and Texas Legal Services Center have teamed up to offer family legal aid clinics the first Thursday of the month from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The next one is Thursday, March 7, at the library, 102 E. Haynie St. in Llano.
“With these clinics, there is — and always will be — a heavy emphasis on respecting our clients’ time,” said Lena Martinez-Wolfinger, managing attorney of the family law clinics at Texas Legal Services Center. “Clients can sign up for appointment times online. That way, there’s minimal waiting around to meet with the attorney. Clients get in, get out, and get on with their busy days.”
The family legal aid clinics are conducted between the clients and attorney via video chat set up at the library. During the 30-minute appointments, the center attorney or other official can answer questions about family law topics such as divorce, child custody, visitation rights, paternity, and name changes. The attorney can provide legal advice, review clients’ court orders and documents for accuracy, and help draft pleadings depending on the complexity of the case.
To qualify for the service, clients must be at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, which roughly translates into a monthly income of $1,302 for a single adult or $1,762 for two adults.
“That can be a confusing metric, so even if you think you may qualify, we encourage you to visit our site and register,” Martinez-Wolfinger said. “Once you’ve registered, our team will check your eligibility. If we find that you’re ineligible, we’ll reach out and let you know. But even if you’re ineligible for this specific program, we may be able to point you to a resource or another organization that can help.”
Texas Legal Services Center is a grant-funded nonprofit with a mission to help the underserved by making civil justice accessible to every Texan, no matter their ability to earn. Through advice, referrals, counseling, representation, and advocacy, the organization helps Texans navigate the complexities of the civil justice system.