Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
|For Immediate Release||
CONTACT: Sally Rankin 410-260-1488
Family Law Forms and Web Site Now Available in Spanish
(Annapolis, MD—February 15, 2005) The Maryland Judiciary is now offering bilingual Spanish/English forms to help Spanish speakers access the state’s family justice system. The forms are available for cases involving issues including divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, protection from domestic violence, and name change. The family law portion of the Judiciary’s Web site has also been translated into Spanish and is available through www.courts.state.md.us/family.
Eleven percent of the people who use the court’s family law self help centers are non-English speakers, and 7 percent report that Spanish is their primary language, said Pamela Cardullo Ortiz, executive director of the Department of Family Administration.
“But that number does not necessarily reflect the true need,” Ortiz said. “Non-English speakers are less likely to use the legal system to solve disputes and resolve problems if services are available only in English. These new resources are an effort to enhance access to the family justice system for many of those individuals.”
The new bilingual forms can be completed on the Internet, then printed for filing. The forms, which can be printed and completed by hand as well, will also be available through circuit court family law self-help centers and clerks’ offices.
At the request of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Women’s Law Center of Maryland is providing Spanish-speaking attorneys to offer free assistance with the forms on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The attorneys are available at the center’s Legal Forms Spanish-Language Helpline at 1-877-293-2507 or 443-519-4054.
Recognizing that many Spanish speakers
do not have access to the Internet, the Judiciary hopes to expand access
to the service by providing information to organizations serving the Hispanic
community. The department will hold an orientation session on the new Spanish-language
resources for representatives from Hispanic organizations on March 31 from
1 to 3 p.m. in Annapolis. For more information, call 410/260-1580.
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