Pilot program offering in-court assistance for families without attorneys

A new pilot program is providing in-court assistance for Tippecanoe County families obtaining child support orders.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 6:19 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2019 6:36 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -  A new pilot program is providing in-court assistance for Tippecanoe County families obtaining child support orders.

The pilot program was created by Tippecanoe Superior Court 2 Judge Steven Meyer. He created the program to assist families who are not represented by attorneys in court.

Meyer said the program aims to eliminate errors when completing a Child Support Worksheet.

"It causes a delay in getting the support. Sometimes it could result in a support amount being too high or low if the form is not filled out correctly,” said Meyer.

The pilot program began last Thursday.

It provides in-court assistance from Indiana Legal Services. Assistance is currently only available for the preparation of the worksheet. The worksheet is required by state law in any family law case involving children under 19 years old.

Managing Attorney Ann Ginda she said families must pre-apply for the service before their hearing.

"They do have to qualify for our program in order for us to represent them. We have income guidelines,” said Ginda.

Ginda added that having assistance from an attorney will benefit lower income families.

"These individuals who are not able to afford it on their own will be able to feel like there is justice available for them as well,” said Ginda.

Judge Meyer believes this will help eliminate issues that may come up in the future.

"We're hoping that we can more efficiently deal with the case. We don't have to reassign the case for another time, and it provides those folks some help and assistance in getting their child support sooner,” said Meyer

Assistance will be available the first and third Thursday of each month from 8:30 am until noon for scheduled hearings. The pilot program will continue through the end of 2019.

Additional information on how to prepare and complete a Child Support Worksheet can be found here.

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