Not Always So Simple

As we share the fun stories of the Justice For All Ball (JFAB), we also want to honor our hard-working volunteer attorneys and other legal professionals by opening the doors on the many different types of clients and cases that The Pro Bono Project handles.

It is our clients who benefit the most from the JFAB - the Ball provides more than one-third of our funding and makes the real successes possible.

As noted, we handle many types of client and cases at The Pro Bono Project. One that often crops up is simple divorce. It’s called simple because it’s usually very straightforward - it’s uncontested, both parties have ironed out whatever details there might be, and they just need to have the paperwork filed to receive the divorce decree. But sometimes, even a simple divorce is not so simple.

The Not So Simple, Simple Divorce

A client first came to our office in April 2017. He is a lower limb amputee and requires the use of a wheelchair. He desperately wanted to get out of his marriage despite only being married a few years. His case experienced several of our usual case difficulties: his first service address was incorrect; his wife had moved by the time the second service was issued.

It seemed as though he just could not catch a break! Each time the service address failed, it caused another delay in his getting closer to obtaining that divorce.

One day, several months later, the client called and said he thought he had found his spouse, who had re-located to Baton Rouge.

We explained to him that he must pay the sheriff once again to make the service, and this time it would cost more because his wife lived in Baton Rouge.

The client is on a fixed income, and paying for additional service charges would be difficult, if not impossible. He asked if it there was any way around the fees because he just could not afford it. We said yes he could, but only if his wife agreed to sign a waiver of service. We offered to mail the waiver to his spouse, but he said no. 

The client was tired of his case being delayed because of his wife’s actions. He wanted to make sure she signed the waiver, so he came to our office, picked up the waiver, and went to Baton Rouge. The next day, he was back in our office with a signed waiver. Today, he is divorced. He said no one could imagine what this judgment means to him and how this has changed his life for the better.

“Changed his life for the better!” It’s a phrase we often hear from our clients and makes our efforts even more worthwhile - to know through our actions, we’ve had a significant impact on someone’s life. It’s a simple mission - provide pro bono civil legal services to someone who can’t afford a lawyer and tap the private bar to lends their skills to do it. A simple mission with a huge result!

You can help us continue to fulfill our mission of providing civil legal services to those in a six-parish area who need representation and cannot afford a lawyer by attending the JFAB.

Celebrate more than just our JFAB Big 30 by purchasing sponsorships or tickets at JFAB 2018 or, if you can’t attend, by making a donation at DONATE JFAB.

If you have pictures from the early years of the JFAB, 1989 to 2004, please send them to CC Kahr. Likewise, if you have a client or JFAB story to share, please send it to CC Kahr