Sunday, July 29, 2007


Self-Help Legal Information

Dakota County Family Court Self Help Center is a program that any Dakota County resident with a family court case can use this program. There are no restrictions on income to use this free service. You can receive a free 30 minute consultation from a volunteer attorney, who can offer advice and legal assistance regarding family law matters such as: marriage dissolution, child custody, child support , visitation , paternity issues, spousal maintenance, and domestic abuse. These volunteer attorneys can provide answers to legal questions, offer procedural advice and help fill out court provided forms. provides answers to legal questions, contact information for legal aid offices, links to courthouses and local community organizations. This site is provided by the Minnesota Legal Services coalition, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Legal Service Coalition. It has links to the legal aid programs but this program does not provide representation. You can put in your county and type of case to get a list of possible organizations that might help you.

State Courts “virtual" Self Help Center has information and links to legal resources to help you represent yourself in Minnesota District Courts. This site is provided by the State Court Administration.

State courts approved forms is the Minnesota Judicial Branch Court forms for forms approved by the courts.

Other programs that have free lawyers for some types of civil cases in Dakota County:

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services is a federally funded civil legal services program provides free representation to low income people in Dakota County (as well as other counties in south eastern Minnesota) with some types of civil case such as public assistance, housing issues for tenants, education law, fair housing and discrimination, and citizenship. Intake telephone number is (651) 222-4731.

Minnesota Disability Law Center helps with legal needs of persons with disabilities. A statewide project, MDLC provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities on legal issues that are related to their disabilities. New Client Intake for metro: (612) 334-5970.

Minnesota AIDS Project provides direct representation or consultation provided to low income people with AIDS if legal issue stems directly from an individual's HIV status or directly impacts the health of an individual with HIV disease.

Chrysalis Center for Women offers a range of legal services and resources to provide assistance with family, GLBT and employment law concerns, including a law clinic, legal information sessions referrals and a safety project. Chrysalis has several programs of advice and information for women in Dakota County. There may be a small fee for some services. Sliding fees apply. Call (612) 871-0118 for information and registration.

Volunteer Attorney Network provides volunteer attorneys for some civil cases for low income people in Hennepin County. They provide volunteer attorneys only for bankruptcy cases for Dakota County low income people. Intake number is 612-752-6677.

LawHelpMN this site also has links to the legal aid programs; you can put in your county and type of case to get a list of possible organizations that might help you.

Referrals to attorneys in private practice:

Legal Assistance of Dakota County

Legal Assistance of Dakota County (this site) (952) 431-3200 provides names of attorneys who practice in Dakota County in any desired area of law.

Minnesota State Bar Association has a referral service for attorneys throughout the state.

Lawyers for low income people with criminal matters:

Minnesota Public Defender’s Office provides free lawyers, appointed by the court, in criminal matters. If you are low income and are charged with a crime, ask the judge for appointment of a public defender at your very first court appearance. The telephone number for the office of the public defender in the First Judicial District, which included Dakota County, is (651) 480-0122.

If you are being hurt or threatened by a family member:

If you are being hurt or threatened now, call 9-1-1

Dakota County Community Action Council's Domestic Violence Outreach Service is a safety net for women who experience domestic violence in Dakota County - requiring police intervention - in their homes. Trained family support workers are available 24 hours a day, every day, to talk things over in person or over the phone. Help is available 24 hours a day. Call Lewis House in Eagan (651) 452-7288 or in Hastings (651) 437-1291

Day One Services provides access to safety for battered women and their children in any location in Minnesota. Call 1-866-223-1111. You will be automatically connected with the closest safe place in your area.

Casa de Esperanza

If you are a Latina in Minnesota, call the Casa de Esperanza Crisis Line 651-772-1611.

Other Information – not legal representation

Dakota County Government

All county information --

Health Topics -- Topics such as Caring for Ourselves and Families, Child Care Providers, Healthy Living, Assisting Veterans, Get the Help You Need, Paternity and Child Support, Reporting Abuse & Preventing Violence, Foster Care Providers.

To Apply for Public Assistance -- All applications for assistance are taken at the County's Northern Service Center:
1 Mendota Road West, Suite 100 , West St Paul, MN 55118-4765
Main number: 651-554-5611
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00a.m. – 4:45p.m.
Walk-in Intake Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00a.m. – 9:45a.m.

Child Support or Paternity Services An application for child support/paternity services is also available:
By mail - Call (651) 554-5689 or (651) 554-5852 to request an application
At county service centers - Hastings, Apple Valley, or West St Paul
Online - from the Minnesota Child Support Enforcement Division web site.

Support and Collections Services For application for support and collections services and information on child support enforcement. General questions on child support call Dakota County at (651) 554-5909. Questions on applying for services call (651) 554-5689 or (651) 554-5852.


Minnesota Cold Weather Rule —
Information about when heat can be shut off in winter.

Consumer Connection Web
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office answers questions and takes complaints on a variety of consumer concerns

MN Dept of Commerce -
Consumer and heating assistance information


Americans with Disabilities Act -
This site has a guide to disability rights and questions and answers about this law.


SMRLS’s Education Law Advocacy Project —
Links to fact sheets and other links for school issues such as discipline, disciple for students with disabilities, education rights for homeless youth, etc.


Housing Link
A non-profit organization that provides information about housing. It does not provide housing or have direct lists of housing for individuals.

Fair Housing - Disability Discrimination

Fair Housing Advocate, National

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities,

Manufactured Home Park Handbook
A Minnesota Attorney General Site

Legal Research

Code of Federal Regulations

Federal Register


Minnesota Statutes and Session Laws

MN State Court Forms

United States Code

Public Benefits

Covering All Families
Eligibility screening tool for many of the benefit programs in Minnesota

Energy Assistance Program
From the Minnesota Department of Commerce

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

Food Stamps Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool
USDA Food and Nutrition Service site

Minnesota Legal Services Advocacy Project
Minnesota Legal Services Advocacy Project does not provide direct legal services to clients

Minnesota Department of Human Services

Minnesota DHS Manuals

Social Security
Links to Social Security Regulations and other useful links for Social Security cases


Benefit Checkup
A free, easy-to-use service that identifies federal and state assistance programs for older Americans.

Medicare Training Module
An advocate's reference from AARP via National Center on Poverty Law

Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association
Advocates for, supports, and provides information and resources to people raising their grandchildren.

National Senior Citizens Law Center,

Senior Citizens Resources
A Minnesota Attorney General Site

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