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Free legal advice available to Mainers during COVID-19 crisis

People who qualify, can go online and email questions about civil legal issues.

PORTLAND, Maine — Mainers are facing a lot of unanswered questions right now when it comes to their businesses, employment, debts, family law, and other issues.  

But thanks to more than 100 attorneys who are stepping up, free legal advice is available at your fingertips.

Fear of the unknown amid the outbreak of COVID-19 has gripped all corners of our world. From shuttered businesses, both big and small, to laid-off employees, there are a lot of burning legal questions. 

"Folks are going through some scary situations right now and we have attorneys ready to answer basic questions," said Beth Richardson, an attorney with the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, which administers the American Bar Association's virtual advice clinic "Free Legal Answers."

Normally the free online system -- where people can email their questions to attorneys is set up for people with low and limited incomes. But the income gap has been raised to accommodate people who have lost unemployment or their business due to Covid-19.  

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Richardson says a lot of COVID-19 related concerns are coming up about child custody arrangements that have never been dealt with before.

Questions like: I don't want my child to spend next week with another parent because of COVID-19, but the court orders say I have to so what do I do?

The questions are classified by subject matter, allowing attorneys to provide legal advice quickly in areas they are comfortable addressing. Attorneys also help people find forms they can fill out themselves. Anyone facing a legal deadline? Those questions are flagged and placed at the top of the queue. For information click here.

Right now more than 130 attorneys from throughout the state are offering legal advice pro bono here in Maine. If you would like to volunteer click on volunteer attorney registration going here. 

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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