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Legal Assistance Program of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida has established a legal assistance program to enable low-income debtors (and in some instances their spouses and former spouses) to receive free legal services in certain types of cases. The legal assistance program applies to the following types of cases:

- Adversary proceedings relating to the debtor's entitlement to a discharge and/or the non-dischargeabilty of a debt. Go here for explanation of what an "adversary proceeding" is.

- Contested matters concerning the debtor's claim to a homestead exemption and subsections 522(o)-(q) of the Bankruptcy Code. (A contested matter is different from an adversary proceeding because it is started by the filing of a motion and not a complaint.)

- Representation of spouses and former spouses of debtors in connection with the dischargeability of obligations under marital settlement agreements and/or judgments for the dissolution of marriage.

Referrals to the legal assistance program are made at the request of the Bankruptcy Judges to whom the bankruptcy case has been assigned or at the written request of the debtor or the spouse/former-spouse of the debtor. Attorneys who have volunteered their services under this program are then contacted for assignment to the adversary proceeding or contested matter.

A party in need of legal assistance offered by this program should submit an application to the address of the division of the Court in which the case is pending. The addresses are below.

An applicant is eligible for the appointment of an attorney only if the applicant's current income does not exceed 200 percent of the current year's U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines ("Guidelines") for the applicant's family size and the applicant does not have sufficient assets to pay for the needed representation. The determination is made by the judge assigned to whom the case is assigned. The Guidelines are available on the uscourts.gov website and by clicking here.

You may use this form to submit an application for legal assistance: Legal Assistance Application Form. Please provide the bankruptcy case number and adversary proceeding number, if applicable, in the application.

For cases pending in the Fort Myers Division, send the application to:

Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Attention: Legal Assistance Program
Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse
801 North Florida Avenue, Fifth Floor
Tampa, Florida 33602

For cases pending in the Jacksonville Division, send the application to:

Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Attention: Legal Assistance Program
Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse
300 North Hogan Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

For cases pending in the Orlando Division, send the application to:

Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Attention: Legal Assistance Program
George C. Young Federal Courthouse
6th Floor
400 W. Washington Street
Orlando, FL 32801

For cases pending in the Tampa Division, send the application to:

Clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Attention: Legal Assistance Program
Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse
801 North Florida Avenue, Fifth Floor
Tampa, Florida 33602

Attorneys interested in participating in this program should click here for additional information. If you have additional questions, please contact the Clerk of Court at (813) 301-5103.