Public defenders at no cost are made available to those with limited financial resources in certain types of civil proceedings, including involuntary mental health commitments, terminations of parental rights, and proceedings where a loss of liberty is at stake. In such matters, a party seeking the appointment of a public defender should make a request from the judge to whom the case is assigned. For other civil matters, there are ways that legal representation may be available at little or no cost to people with limited financial resources. To see if you qualify, contact Indiana Legal Services, South Bend (574-234-8121) or the Volunteer Lawyer Network (574-277-0075). Also, the St. Joseph County Bar Association has a lawyer referral service (574-235-9657). Referrals by that service are not necessarily free or discounted. But many members of the bar are often open to discussing reduced fees and/or payment plans for persons of limited financial means. A mediation service, the ADR Mediation Plan, is also available in divorce and family law matters, such as child custody, property division, paternity, parenting time (visitation), and support. Mediation costs are determined on a sliding-fee scale which is based on income. For information, contact the ADR Mediation Plan at 574-235- 9551.