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Sixth Judicial District offers aid to self-represented litigants

By Jon Sarche
Special to The SUN

The Sixth Judicial District announced it has opened a new center in Durango to offer help to people representing themselves in non-criminal court proceedings.

The center is part of a broader program the Colorado Judicial Branch created to help the courts address the ever-growing number of cases in which people forego representation by attorneys. For example, in 63 percent of Colorado divorce cases today, neither party has a lawyer.

The Judicial Branch recently hired 12 case managers to coordinate and provide services to self-represented parties in 11 judicial districts to provide procedural information, locate forms and help complete them, and understand their options to try to resolve disputes outside the courtroom through mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

“The need for legal resources could not be greater in this large, isolated geographic area …,” said Michelle Sylvain, self-represented litigant coordinator for the Sixth Judicial District (Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties). “Many people involved in civil matters don’t qualify for help from Colorado Legal Services, but don’t have sufficient income to hire private counsel.”

Office hours in Durango are 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact Sylvain at 6thselfhelp@judicial.state.co.us.

This story was posted on February 7, 2013.