|Guardianship Help Desk|
In January 2010 the Lake County Bar Association’s Guardianship Help Desk was established to assist pro se petitioners seeking guardianship of the person of a minor child. The Help Desk operates on Friday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the conference room adjacent to the Probate Court, which is located in the Park City Branch Court (301 S. Greenleaf Avenue, Park City, 60085). The Help Desk is staffed by volunteer attorney and non-attorney members of the Lake County Bar Association.
The process to obtain guardianship of a minor child is not simple; it requires at least two court appearances, the production of a number of required documents, and the completion of a series of forms. Although there are some common requirements in every case, each case has its own set of independent parties and facts. Pro se petitioners were struggling to navigate the complicated process, and their unfamiliarity, and lack of preparedness, was creating inefficiency in the courtroom. Once a need for assistance was identified, the members of the LCBA stepped forward, eager to provide assistance. LCBA organizers studied an existing Cook County program which served as a model. Ultimately, with some financial assistance from the Lake County Bar Foundation for equipment, combined with the efforts of LCBA members, Judge Ceckowski, and Judge Winter, the Lake County program was born.
The program heavily relies on the cooperative efforts of attorney and associate members of the LCBA, the staff of the Clerk of the Court, the office of the Sheriff, the office of the Court Administrator, and the Probate Court Judge. Together, these parties assist petitioners through the process with courtesy and efficiency.
Volunteers do not need prior experience in the area of Probate. They are however, encouraged to attend one of the formal Guardianship Help Desk training sessions that are offered through the LCBA several times a year. Additional on-job training is offered as new volunteers are paired with experienced workers until they have gained familiarity, and confidence with the program. Every session, at least one attorney is also available to provide guidance to the volunteers.
We are eager to have you join us in this exceptionally challenging and fulfilling project. If you are interested in participating as a volunteer, contact Jennifer Howe at 847-295-8800.
Resources: Guardianship of Minors Guide