New online help available to Kentuckians handling legal affairs without an attorney

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, January 18, 2024

Kentucky Lantern

Kentuckians handling legal affairs without an attorney have a new online resource. A Legal Self-Help Portal has been added to the Kentucky court system’s website.

An interactive program helps users complete forms for common legal situations including uncontested divorce, probate, child support, small claims, name change, expungement and more, says a news release from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The program – A2J Guided Interviews – walks users through a series of questions and uses the responses to fill out legal forms that can be filed with the courts, says the release.

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The self-help portal can be found at kcoj.info/SelfHelpPortal.

The AOC news release also says:

“The portal also provides links to legal information categorized by topic on kyjustice.org, the online legal advice clinic ky.freelegalanswers.org, lawyer referral services and Kentucky’s regional civil legal aid programs. These legal aid programs provide free legal assistance to eligible individuals in civil legal matters. The Administrative Office of the Courts legal forms library is also available through the portal. Here, users will find an array of standardized legal forms, including the recently developed forms packet for uncontested divorces involving no children.

“In addition to being accessible from any internet-connected device, the portal can be accessed at public computer workstations the AOC is installing in judicial centers/courthouses across the state. These workstations are now available in Offices of Circuit Court Clerk in 48 counties and will be in most of Kentucky’s other 72 counties by June. The counties that have the stations now are Allen, Bath, Boone, Bourbon, Bullitt, Calloway, Campbell, Christian, Clark, Clay, Cumberland, Fleming, Franklin, Gallatin, Grant, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Kenton, Laurel, Lincoln, Magoffin, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Menifee, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Pulaski, Robertson, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, Todd, Trigg, Warren, Whitley and Woodford.

“‘The resources, their centralization into a self-help portal and the workstations are major steps toward our continuous goal to improve access to justice for everyone,’ Chief Justice Laurance B. VanMeter said. ‘For non-attorneys, the legal system can be a mystery. A one-stop shop with user-friendly technology is our solution to this challenge. The portal makes it far easier for the many people who can’t afford an attorney or choose to handle their own everyday issues.’

“Supreme Court Justice Michelle M. Keller chairs the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission. ‘I’m proud of the work of the courts and the commission to bring the portal to life. With it, we’re breaking down barriers to justice and making it possible for people to handle their court business in an easier and more efficient manner.’

“Since going live as a soft launch March 31, 2023, the portal has been visited by nearly 107,000 different users.

“The Kentucky Access to Justice Commission was established in 2010 by Supreme Court order to make access to justice a priority for the Judicial Branch. The KAJC works to increase access to the courts and legal representation for people of low and moderate income through innovative partnerships with Kentucky’s civil legal aid programs, the judiciary, court officials, the Kentucky Bar Association, the private bar, law schools, trained non-lawyers, businesses, and community and faith-based organizations.

“The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 employees and 413 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.”