Access to justice is a fundamental value in our democracy.

Are You Eligible for Our Help?

Do I need to live in Dakota County, Minnesota?

We only represent people who live in Dakota County or people whose cases are in Dakota County and have been referred by the legal aid program in their own county.

If you are low-income and have a legal case in Dakota County, but do not live in Dakota County, call the legal aid program in your own county. If you qualify for that program, that program will ask us to try to take your case.

Am I financially eligible?

Low-income: Clients must meet income guidelines.

In most cases, your household income must be below 150% of the federal poverty guideline. In some situations, your household income may be higher. If you are not sure if you will qualify, please call us and do intake to be sure.

Read the chart showing current Federal Poverty Guidelines for qualifying. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Asset Limitations: You cannot have assets that could be used to pay for a lawyer (things not needed for daily life such as expensive race cars or boats). Your share of your home’s equity must be below $40,000. Your equity is the amount left over after the mortgage balances are subtracted from the value of the home.

Is my case the kind of case you handle?

Legal Assistance of Dakota County, Ltd. handles only family law cases that are in family court, such as:

  • Divorce
  • Orders for Protection (domestic abuse)
  • Child custody

We can give advice about cases that involve only child support. We don’t handle juvenile court cases (CHIPs) or initial paternity cases because the court will appoint a free lawyer for you if you are low-income.

How do I apply?

We will need to talk with you briefly on the phone to find out if your income is eligible and you have the type of case we can handle. Call us at 952-431-3200 to start the process. You may also apply online.

I am trying to help a friend or family member, can I apply for them?

No, we usually need to talk to the person who has the legal case unless that person is under a guardianship.

I am calling for someone who does not speak English, can you help that person? I don’t speak English, can you still help me?

Yes, we help people no matter what language they speak. If we do not have a person who speaks your language, we will have a professional interpreter help. It will not cost you anything.

What if I am not eligible?

If you are not eligible, we will refer you to an attorney in private practice, to another legal aid program, or to a place where you can get the forms needed to represent yourself.

If I have low-income and have a family law problem, will I definitely get a lawyer to help me?

We try to help as many people as we can, but there are more people who need help than lawyers available.  If your case is not an emergency, your name may be placed on a waiting list. If your case is an emergency, we try to help immediately. Sometimes we cannot help because we don’t have enough lawyers for all the people who qualify. There is not a right to have a lawyer in a civil case and we do not have enough lawyers to help everyone.

You will not be denied our services on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, age, religion, political affiliation or belief, receipt of public assistance, or disability.

If I qualify, will I have to pay for the lawyer?

No, we do not charge our clients any fees.