www.mvlp.org 601-960-9577

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of cases does the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project handle?
 MVLP accepts cases as follows:

Divorce:  MVLP will only accept divorce matters which are based on the following grounds: irreconcilable differences; sentenced to penitentiary; and desertion.  Parties with irreconcilable differences divorces will be required to execute a document which confirms their consent to the divorce and provisions related to property, child support and custody.  Parties with divorces based on desertion will be required to provide the last known address of the spouse and, where the spouse is unknown, execute an affidavit which confirms that they have conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry into the whereabouts of the spouse for the purposes of service to the spouse by publication. MVLP will only assist parties with divorces based on a spouse being sentenced to the penitentiary if the spouse is currently incarcerated and his/her release is not expected for at least one year after the party becomes a client of MVLP.    

Removal of Minority/Emancipation:  MVLP will only accept emancipation matters with the consent of the party’s biological parents and if the party requesting assistance is seeking independent housing or employment and is currently employed and/or enrolled in a GED program or post-secondary education.  In some instances, parties requesting assistance with emancipation matters may be required to provide proof of employment.

Wills:  MVLP will accept simple will matters only where the party does not own significant property or expect to owe estate taxes at his/her death and where the party does not anticipate that anyone will contest his/her will.

Adoption:  MVLP will accept uncontested adoption matters only.  In all instances, the parties will be required to provide MVLP with executed consent to adoption and parental termination documents from both of the child’s biological parents.  In the case of unknown fathers, the person seeking MVLP’s assistance must execute an affidavit which confirms that s/he has conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry into the whereabouts of the father for the purposes of service to the unknown father by publication.

Guardianship:  MVLP will accept uncontested guardianship matters only.  In all instances, the parties will be required to provide MVLP with executed consent to guardianship documents from both of the child’s biological parents.  In the case of unknown fathers, the person seeking MVLP’s assistance must execute an affidavit which confirms that s/he has conducted a diligent search and reasonable inquiry into the whereabouts of the father for the purposes of service to the unknown father by publication.

Name Change:  MVLP will accept name change matters for the purpose of obtaining employment, public benefits, retirement and identification.  Due to MVLP’s limited resources, MVLP will not provide services to individuals who are requesting assistance with a name change matter for vanity purposes only.

Birth Certificate Correction:  MVLP will accept birth certificate correction matters for the purpose of obtaining employment, public benefits, retirement and identification.  In the case of birth certificate corrections due to changes in paternity, MVLP will handle changes to the minor’s last name only. 

Child Support Contempt:  MVLP will accept child support contempt matters only if the party in contempt has not paid child support for a minimum of three months and is in arrears of at least $1,000 but not more than $10,000.  MVLP will not assist with these matters where the party requesting assistance has a contempt matter pending with the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Child Support Modification:  MVLP will accept child support modification matters if the responsible party is deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration and/or has experienced a significant loss or increase in income since the most recent child support order was entered.

Conservatorship:  MVLP will accept conservatorship matters with the consent of the ward and other interested parties (spouses, siblings, etc.) and with the written and executed support of two of the ward’s treating physicians.

Visitation:  MVLP will accept visitation matters when (a) a child support order exists, but is silent as to visitation or (b) paternity has been established and the non-custodial parent is willing to pay child support and obtain visitation.  In cases where a child support order exists, the party requesting assistance must be current on his/her child support obligation.

What areas of Mississippi does MVLP serve?
MVLP provides services throughout the State of Mississippi.
Are the cases all direct representation?
No, in addition to direct representation cases, MVLP offers a variety of clinics to offer clients brief services and advice.  Visit the Events page to find a legal clinic in your area.
How do I qualify for services?
All prospective clients are screened by MVLP.  A prospective client’s eligibility is determined by federal poverty guidelines, including income and assets, as well as by citizenship status. Intake staff also assesses the merit of each client’s case.  MVLP reserves the right to terminate representation of a client whose income situation or the nature of his/her legal matter changes such that s/he no longer qualifies for the program's services.
Who pays for court fees?
Clients pay court fees directly to volunteer attorneys. MVLP will advise the client of the amount of his/her filing if/when s/he is accepted as an MVLP client.

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