State starts hotline for free legal help over custody and visitation issues
A new telephone hotline gives qualifying parents free legal assistance related to their custody and visitation concerns. The toll-free Custody and Visitation Hotline number is 1-844-673-3470. Phone lines are open Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Eastern time.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Office of Child Support Enforcement (CSE) has an agreement with the Legal Aid Society (LAS) to operate the “Custody and Visitation” Hotline. The statewide service is for eligible parents, on an income-based scale, who have concerns regarding custody and visitation issues with their children.
Steve Veno, Commissioner of the CHFS Department for Income Services, which oversees the CSE, said an LAS attorney will handle all hotline calls and provide legal advice or assistance to callers such as how to file a motion, how to file or change a child custody or visitation order in the appropriate court and how to work through visitation and custody issues.
“We have heard from many parents who ask about access to legal help, so we know the need is there,” Veno said. “Our agency isn’t able to address these issues, but now there is a resource for parents with simple legal questions or deeper concerns. We anticipate a lot of parents will take advantage of this new resource.”
LAS attorneys cannot file legal pleadings, appear in court or address child support issues.
Funding for the hotline comes from a grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families and provides for initial operation of the service through June 2018. CSE and LAS staff will meet regularly to evaluate the program, address challenges and ensure progress.
“Helping parents with their custody and visitation questions will give them more peace of mind,” concluded CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson. “In turn, this will help children. The connection between parents having a relationship with their children and financially supporting their children is strong. Collection of court-ordered child support payments is another integral part of the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s mission.”
While this partnership deals specifically with custody and visitation issues, a number of separate resources are also available for parents dealing with child support issues.
The Child Support Enforcement Hotline - 800-248-1163 - is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Child Support Interactive Voice Response Payment Line - 800-443-1576 – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
is available for parents to access information about their cases and to make payments.