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About Central Minnesota Legal Services

CMLS provides civil legal assistance to eligible clients within a twenty-county service area. Offices are located in Downtown Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Willmar.  Clients receive legal services at no cost, unless there are court fees that cannot be waived.  Assistance is provided in areas of family law, housing, government benefits and consumer law and employment law.

FAMILY LAW  CMLS assists in dissolution or non-dissolution custody cases, including third party custody and paternity cases, in which physical or emotional abuse or neglect is imminent, and which involve minor children of the relationship.  Parental kidnapping cases are considered if legal action is necessary to prevent the removal of the children from Minnesota jurisdiction.  Other family law matters may include visitation disputes affecting the safety and security of the minor children, or Order for Protection cases in which custody is contested, with credible allegations of abuse or other threats to the well-being of the custodial parent or minors.  As a second priority, CMLS provides assistance in contested custody cases or other family law matters which present major economic disruption to families.  Similar consideration is given to individuals facing economic stress as a result of a family law issue, and for whom there are no other resources available.

HOUSING  Housing cases considered by CMLS involve families or individuals faced with homelessness or deprivation of basic housing needs.  CMLS considers cases involving private housing problems including evictions, repair problems, foreclosures, and contract for deed cancellations.

GOVERNMENT BENEFITS  Priority is given to cases which establish or preserve the basic income or families, or individuals with no alternative resources.  Government benefits may include AFDC, MFIP, SSI, Social Security, Disability benefits, Medical Assistance, and Food Stamps.

CONSUMER  CMLS offers assistance to families and individuals facing potential utility terminations or other threats to basic income needs.