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As a result of increased funding from the Montana Supreme Court, and a growing demand for services, Missoula's Family Law Self Help Center has extended its hours.

The new hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Missoula Family Law Self Help Center is located on the second floor of the Missoula County Courthouse and provides assistance to those who cannot afford an attorney or choose to represent themselves in family law matters such as dissolution of marriage, legal separation and parenting plan cases. The center now offers the assistance of 16 volunteer attorneys and five undergraduate law student volunteers.

The center provides packets of legal forms to the public for little or no cost. Although center volunteers do not give legal advice, they do provide assistance with family law forms, information on how to move cases through complicated court procedures and referrals to attorneys and mediators for services.

Before the center opened its doors in July 2008, unrepresented parties often filed legal documents with errors or omissions that caused delays. Missoula District Court judges and court clerk have found that errors are greatly reduced and peoples' cases are proceeding much more smoothly since the center opened.

In at least 60 percent of the nearly 800 active domestic relations cases in Missoula District Court, one or both parties are unrepresented by an attorney.

With the newly extended hours, the center will be able to serve a greater number of citizens.

For more information about the center or its services, e-mail missoulaselfhelp@gmail.com or call 258-3428.

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