Kysten A. Palmore
Reentry Coalition Coordinator
Phone: (614) 525-5577
Fax: (614) 525-5549
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Franklin County Homeland Security & Justice Programs
373 South Hight Street
Columbus, OH 43215
If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down. -Mary Pickford
I Need Legal Assistance
Legal assistance is available, often at a reduced cost or no cost, depending on your needs and overall situation.
Local attorneys are available free, seven times each month, to answer your legal questions at Interfaith Legal Clinics.
For the purposes of this page, we divide legal assistance into the following categories:
meaning you are accused of a crime and could go to prison or jail. An example would be if you are arrested for theft or assault.
- Child Support
meaning you are suing for child support, or being sued for child support, where there is both a money component and a risk of jail time for non-payment or non-compliance. This category includes determination of paternity - that is, the identify of a child's biological father.
a dispute between people or entities but where no jail time is possible. An example would be if someone is suing you for money, or if you are suing someone for money or benefits.
- Civil Rights
if your Constitutional or human or civil rights have been violated and you are suing the government for restitution or compensation.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime that could subject you to jail or prison time, and you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, the State must provide legal assistance for you. This is done through the Office of the Public Defender.
In Franklin County, the Public Defender is Yeura R. Venters, Franklin County Public Defender Office, 373 South High Street, 12th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Phone: 614.525.3194, Fax: 614.461.6470.
If you are a custodial parent suing for child support, or if you are a non-custodial parent being sued for child support, and you need assistance, or if you need to establish the paternity (who is the father) of a child, the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency may be able to help.
The mission of the Child Support Enforcement Agency is to provide for the establishment and enforcement of child support orders to enhance the economic security and health insurance protection for the children and families of Franklin County.
CSEA, under the direction of Director Susan Brown, is located at 80 E. Fulton Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Phone 614.525.3275; Fax 614.525.6409. The agency can assist with location of non-custodial parent, paternity establishment, establishment of child support and medical support orders, enforcement of child support and medical support orders, review and modification of support orders, and termination of support orders. The agency does NOT assist with issues of custody, divorce, and does not give legal advice or provide legal representation in court.
If you experience any of the following legal concerns, the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, located at 1108 City Park Ave, Columbus OH 43206, may be able to help:
- Loss or denial of public benefits
- Unemployment compensation
- Domestic Violence
- Child Custody
- Consumer Issues
- Garnishments and attachments
- Landlord/Tenant Dissolutions
- Income Tax Issues
In Franklin or Madison counties please call the Intake Line at 614.241.2001; the Intake Line is open Monday through Friday from 9:30a-3:30p. If you live in Delaware, Marion, Morrow, or Union counties please call the Marion Office at 740.383.2161. The phone lines are open 9a-12p and 1-5p Monday through Friday.
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus does not charge for its services but you may be required to pay certain court costs. The best way to see if you are eligible for their help is to fill out their online application.
If you feel that your civil rights have been violated, contact the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU handles cases that involve serious violations of civil liberties by the government.
The ACLU maintains an extensive list of legal resources including:
- General assistance
- Lawyer referrals
- Discrimination of any kind
- Prisons & jails
- Problems with businesses
- Police brutality
- Voting Rights for People with Criminal Convictions