*As this situation is evolving rapidly, please call ahead to any agencies or courts to verify service availability. This page was last updated at 7:00 am March 23, 2020.*
If the information below does not answer your question, or if you would just feel more comfortable talking to a lawyer about your issue, please call the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyers Program at 334-265-0222, ext. 2.
Montgomery County Courts
- The Montgomery County Courthouse is NOT holding in-person hearings until April 20, 2020. The Clerk’s Office is staffed from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- If you had a court date scheduled before April 20, 2020, and have not received any documents from the Court regarding your case, call or email the Clerk’s Office using the information above.
- The Court is NOT closed. While some services are limited, if you are served with papers, you still need to file a response within the number of days listed. You may do so by:
- Mailing your document to Montgomery County Circuit Clerk, P.O. Box 1667, Montgomery, AL 36104;
- Taking your documents to the courthouse (251 S. Lawrence St.) and leaving them in the drop box in the lobby; OR
- E-mailing your documents to the email address above.
- If you need to file an emergency action, such as a warrant for domestic violence or a Protection From Abuse Order, you should contact the Clerk’s Office using the information above to make an appointment. See additional information below regarding resources for Domestic Violence.
- If you need to make a payment to the Court, you may do so with a credit card (4% fee) by calling 334-832-1260 or by mailing your payment to Montgomery County Circuit Clerk, P.O. Box 1667, Montgomery, AL 36104.
Just because the courts are not holding in-person hearings does NOT mean an eviction action can’t be filed against you.
- If you are served with eviction papers (titled an “Unlawful Detainer” in Alabama), you have 7 days to file a response with the court. Call the MVLP immediately at (334) 265-0222, ext. 2 if you would like assistance.
The form for your response is linked here, for your use: http://eforms.alacourt.gov/media/jxnh0aph/answer-to-landlords-claim.pdf
- If your landlord attempts to throw you out by cutting off your utilities, changing your locks, or any other action and you HAVE NOT been through a formal court Unlawful Detainer action, call Legal Services Alabama (866-456-4995) for immediate assistance. You can also apply online here: https://aloi.legalserver.org/modules/matter/extern_intake.php?pid=38&h=757e8c&
- If you suspect you will have trouble making your mortgage payment, you should reach out to your loan company as soon as possible to request a hardship forbearance or other assistance. They are more likely to work with you BEFORE you get behind.
- Foreclosure sales and ejectments of federally-backed mortgages have been suspended until approximately May 18, 2020. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE YOUR MONTHLY PAYMENT!!!!
- Some federally-backed mortgage loans are eligible for COVID-19 relief. If you have a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA home loan, contact your loan servicer immediately to find out about your options.
Garnishment & Collections Cases
The Courts are still receiving filings. If you need relief from a judgement or garnishment, you should file a Claim of Exemptions immediately. You may protect:
- Up to $7,500 in a bank account (depending on the type of income); or
- Up to $1000 of EACH paycheck.
Here are links to the forms you
should file with the Court:
For your wages: http://eforms.alacourt.gov/media/e3ehpbzr/declaration-and-claim-of-exemption-for-wages-request-to-protect-wages.pdf
For your bank account: http://eforms.alacourt.gov/media/45ehqrlm/request-to-stop-garnishment-of-bank-account.pdf
- The easiest way to avoid having a collections action filed against you is to work out a payment arrangement with your creditor BEFORE you get behind. If you are already behind, but no court action has been filed yet, you may still be able to work with your creditors to get caught up.
- These types of cases can be confusing. If you would like additional advice or assistance with your situation, please call the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyers Program at 334-265-0222, ext. 2.
Employment & Unemployment Compensation
The Alabama Department of Labor has put in place some protections for those out of work due to COVID-19 related workforce reductions. To file a claim for Unemployment Compensation, visit their website at https://labor.alabama.gov/uc/ICCS/default.aspx.
- Domestic violence cases are one of the exceptions to the ban on in-person hearings instituted by the Alabama Supreme Court. This means you can still get a Protection From Abuse Order from the Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court that could provide you with safety, even in these difficult times.
- The form for asking for a Protection From Abuse Order is here: http://eforms.alacourt.gov/media/5hpppv0h/petition-for-protection-from-abuse.pdf
- While you can file the petition above yourself, we recommend you seek the assistance of a qualified attorney at the Family Sunshine Center (334-263-0218) or One Place Family Justice Center (334-262-7378) to help you and connect you with additional services for victims of domestic and family violence.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves to provide support to families throughout Alabama in need of help with food security.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources has modified its guidelines in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Visit https://mydhr.alabama.gov to submit an online application, even if you haven’t previously qualified to receive benefits. At the moment, this is the fastest and most effective way to get your case evaluated.
Small business relief loans are available to business owners in some of Alabama’s counties. Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations to find out more.
At the moment, a whole host of criminals are at work to take advantage of people’s fears and uncertainty. Beware of the following known scams:
- Telephone Scams: Purporting to be any credible business or agency, including the Courts, the Social Security Administration, law enforcement, or Alabama Power, to name a few.
- If you receive an unsolicited phone call, and the caller requests your personal information, confirm their identity with a call to the agency/company’s public telephone number or request communication via mail or email.
- You should NEVER give any sensitive information over the phone unless you are 100% sure of the legitimacy of the caller on the other end.
- Email Scams: Same as telephone scams, but via email instead.
- Check the email address for any indicators that it comes from an impostor (no .gov for a government agency, comes from gmail or another public provider, has misspellings after the @).
- Call the company or agency using their publish phone number and ask to speak to someone about the email.
- Beware scam products or fake “coupons,” either in person or online. Especially if you have to provide any sensitive information (name, birthdate, SSN, address, etc.), these could be bad guys fishing for your information. If you buy online, buy from a reputable site.
- To report a scam, visit the Alabama Attorney General’s website (https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint) or call 1-800-392-5658.
Contact the Montgomery Volunteer Lawyers Program
- We are currently processing new client intakes from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, via TELEPHONE ONLY.
- For legal advice, if you qualify, an attorney will be assigned to your claim and will call you within a day or two of your initial intake.
- For cases needing full representation, additional paperwork will be sent to you after your initial intake, and an attorney will be assigned to your case once the paperwork is returned.
- Our new client intake telephone number is 334-265-0222, ext. 2.
- For attorneys who would like to volunteer as a Pro Bono attorney or current program clients, call 334-265-0222, ext. 3.
Food Bank www.montgomeryareafoodbank.org
Council on Aging (MACOA, Meals on Wheels) www.macoa.org
Meals on Wheels: 334-240-6765
Montgomery 211 www.211connectsalabama.org
Phone: 211 OR text or call 888-421-1266
One Place Family
Justice Center www.oneplacefjc.org
Phone: 334-263-0218 OR 800-650-6522
Other Legal Resources
Madison County Volunteer Lawyers Program: www.vlpmadisoncounty.com
Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program: www.vlbham.org
South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program: www.savlp.org
Alabama State Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program: 334-269-1515 OR 800-354-6154
Legal Services Alabama: www.legalservicesalabama.org
For non-urgent matters, have an attorney respond via e-mail: https://alabama.freelegalanswers.org/
Alabama Administrative Office of Courts Electronic Forms: http://eforms.alacourt.gov/