The Everyday Legal Issues Seminar Friend of the Court to host seminar April 28 Help available for driver's license restoration, child support issues and mortgage foreclosures

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

If you've wrestled with trying to solve a nagging legal problem, Director Zenell Brown of Wayne County Friend of the Court and her team would like to help.

Third Circuit Friend of the Court is sponsoring "The Everyday Legal Issues Seminar" on Saturday, April 28, from 1-4 p.m. in the Friends Auditorium of the Detroit Public Library at 5201 Woodward. The seminar will assist attendees with driver's license restoration, child support issues and mortgage foreclosures. A panel of attorneys and other legal experts will be present to answer questions.

"William Booth Legal Aid Clinic will be there," Brown said. "We have a private practitioner who is experienced in the driver's license area. We have JVS (Jewish Vocational Services) providing someone for the mortgage foreclosure piece. Wayne County Head Start, Detroit Head Start and Wayne County Family and Children Services will be there. We'll have several of our Third Circuit judges and some from 36th District Court. It's a lot of representation from a lot of organizations."

The impetus for the program was a lack of accurate information about the issues.

"When we put the program together we looked at what were the prevalent issues in Wayne County," Brown said.

She says they found that legal problems often were tied together and that something as simple as a suspended driver's license could be making it difficult to address other issues.

"What kept coming up was that often people have child support issues also have issue with their license," Brown said. "People who have had their license suspended, maybe not for drunk driving but for points or not paying a citation."

Foreclosures are common right now in southeast Michigan and were included in the mix.

"We included foreclosure because that's everywhere across the map," Brown said. "We'll deal with 'If you're facing a foreclosure notice, here's the first thing you should do' and that sort of advice."

And of course, Friend of the Çourt will be offering advice and guidance on domestic legal issues.

"On child support assistance, there's a lot of stuff that's coming down from the state that may be helpful to the person who has child support arrearages," Brown said. "We'll tell them about the payment plan. We'll tell people how to check whether they have a warrant without fear of being arrested. That's a simple phone call where you say, "here's my social security number. Do you have a case on me? What's the status of that case?'"

Brown says fear keeps many people from stepping forward to resolve these outstanding issues.

"There is a belief that if you reached a certain amount of money, that a bench warrant was automatically issued or it automatically was a felony," said Brown. "It's not automatic. There are processes in place. People who think they are facing a bench warrant or a felony charge may not be."

Brown says that the ultimate purpose of the seminar is to get the right information to the right people so they can make intelligent, informed decisions about their problems.

"People who are trying to turn their lives around and take a step in the right direction."

Published: Wed, Apr 25, 2012