Many legal resources are available for free or at low cost. This guide covers those resources of most interest to Iowa consumers looking for urgent legal guidance.
Free Legal Aid
Legal Services offices offer free legal help to the low-income population. Although these offices do not typically handle criminal matters, they can offer help on a wide variety of civil legal matters, including tax, fraud, family, housing, employment and other issues.
Small Claims Court
For monetary disputes below $5,000, small claims court is often the way to go. The process is streamlined and easy, and you don't need a lawyer. Here is more information on small claims actions in Iowa:
LegalZoom also offers low-cost, online help with small claims filing in many states:
Lawyer Referral Services
Many state or county bar associations offer lawyer referral services. These services typically provide a high level of intake assistance, which is particularly helpful if you aren't sure what type of lawyer you need to talk to. Most will permit an initial consultation in almost any area of the law at little to no cost.
By filing for bankruptcy, an individual or a business can seek protection from creditors. If you are considering bankruptcy or foreclosure prevention, take this 3 minute financial quiz and get low-cost lawyer-assisted online services from SelfHelpLawyer.
Click here to find more info or the bankruptcy court nearest you:
Child Custody, Support & Welfare
Answers to questions concerning your state's child custody laws, process and procedure can be found here:
Resources to help you enforce a child support order in the event of nonpayment:
Finally, contact your local child protective services agency if you believe a child is being mistreated:
Consumer Protection and Fraud Resources
If you feel you've been the victim of fraud, or deceptive acts on the part of a business, you can contact a local consumer protection office. Depending on the nature of the claim, you may also be able to get relief by asking to speak to company management or by filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
LegalZoom offers an online, uncontested divorce package for only $300:
You can find state divorce resources here:
The domestic violence hotline – available online or by calling 1-800-799-7233 – is available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in every state.
While poor management and economically-driven layoffs are rarely cause for a lawsuit, illegal discrimination or retaliation claims are a different matter. You can contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Office for more information:
For injuries on the job or information on unemployment benefits:
There's a lot to keep in mind when foreclosure appears imminent, from avoiding it altogether to ensuring that you don't get taken by a foreclosure "rescue" scam.
Landlord & Tenant Rights
If you have issues with your landlord, tenants, subtenants or roommates, check into these resources for information on your options: