Am I eligible for legal aid services?
You are eligible for our free domestic violence legal aid services if you live in north suburban Cook County or Lake County and have experienced domestic violence. Under the law, domestic violence includes physical or sexual harm as well as mental, emotional, and financial harm. Unsure whether you qualify? Contact our office and an intake specialist will help determine if you are eligible for our services.
How do I apply for legal aid?
You can either do so online by clicking the Schedule a Consultation link below or by calling us at (847) 737-4042. An intake specialist will help determine if you meet our eligibility requirements and are facing an issue we can help with. If so, they will schedule you for a consultation with a domestic violence attorney. Our team speaks both English and Spanish. Should you need assistance in another language, we can connect using interpretation services.
Preparing for your intake:
A domestic violence attorney will call you at your scheduled time for your consultation, which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. We understand that due to the nature of domestic violence, you may not be available during our typical office hours. We are happy to reach out to you at whatever time or in whatever format best keeps you safe. If you have any court orders or documents related to your case, it would be helpful to have them handy during the consultation.
What if NSLAC can’t help with my case?
If it turns out that we cannot assist in your case, we often provide referrals to other legal aid organizations or outside resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is domestic violence? How do I know if I’m being abused?
Domestic violence is defined broadly under the law. It includes physical harm but also mental, emotional, and financial harm. If you do not feel safe physically or emotionally at home or in your relationship, you could be abused.
How can the law help me?
The law can help you in a few ways. For anyone who feels in immediate danger of harm, you can ask the court for an emergency order of protection for you and anyone else in your household. An emergency order of protection requires the abuser to stay 500 feet away from you, your home and your place of employment and prohibits the abuser from contacting you in any way (phone calls and texts, email, social media).
What type of domestic violence cases do you take?
Under the grants that fund NSLAC, we can take any civil or criminal order of protection case or family law case that involves domestic violence.
Can you handle my divorce?
We handle many divorce and parentage cases in family courts in Lake County and northern Cook Counties.
Can you help me with custody of my child/children?
We represent many survivors in allocation (what the law used to call “custody”) matters.
I am concerned about my immigration status; can you still help me?
Yes, we can. We will help you regardless of your immigration status. We also have an Immigration Law Practice that can help you with your immigration concerns.
Do you handle criminal cases?
We handle criminal orders of protection. We do not represent defendants in criminal cases.
What if the abuse happened a while ago but now, I feel like I need protection or want to take action?
We would be happy to talk to you about what your options are now and plan with you to protect yourself.
How do I apply for services with NSLAC?
All requests for assistance are confidential and accepted by telephone (847) 737-4042 or email info@NSlegalaid.org. Phones are answered during business hours Monday-Friday: 9 am-5 pm, with the exception of some holidays.
How do you determine if I am eligible for legal help?
For the Domestic Violence Law Practice, we only screen for a history of domestic violence to be able to help you. We do not have an income requirement.
Is there a charge for services I receive?
No. We are a completely free legal aid clinic.
What if I am not safe?
Call 911 and/or get to a safe place immediately.
- If possible, take your children and important documents with you such as your birth certificate, passport, social security cards, Medicaid or health insurance cards, ATM cards and bank account numbers and the lease or deed to your home.
- Safety Planning is very important. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline (open 24/7, interpreters available) can help you come up with a plan and get to safety: (877) 863-6338.
How do I contact you if I am afraid or in danger? I am afraid my abuser will find out that I am looking up domestic violence resources on the internet. What can I do?
An abuser can track your computer use in many ways, such as accessing your email inbox and sent mail as well as looking at a history of the websites you visit. You may want to use a “safe” computer they cannot access at a library, community center or a friend’s home.
Do you cover court or other fees?
We do not, but we often request fee waivers from the court to excuse our clients’ obligation to pay court fees.
Do you help seek shelter and other services?
Yes! We partner with many community social service agencies to help meet other needs of our clients.