ManuelManuel’s 14 year old daughter was living on the streets with his ex-wife and surrounded by drug addicts, however his wife had full custody and he didn’t have the legal resources to intervene. He didn’t know where to turn.

Shortly after his daughter was born, Manuel and his wife divorced. Despite his pleas full custody of his daughter was awarded to her mom. Their living situation was stable enough at the time, however, shortly thereafter things started to deteriorate. They moved around often which took the child in and out of the state and eventually communication became difficult and at times nonexistent. When he learned that his daughter was homeless and living in a community drug addicts he didn’t know where to turn.

Manuel needed legal assistance to find his daughter and get custody. He was barely surviving from paycheck to paycheck supporting his new wife and two children on one income. It was then that he was referred to Open Legal Services, a nonprofit charitable law firm for those who earn too much money to qualify free legal help. OLS attorneys work on a sliding scale, to be a more affordable option for every day Utahans.

“I explained the situation with my daughter, the danger she was in, as well as my financial concerns. From the beginning they were so understanding, and empathetic. My attorney showed genuine concern for me and my daughter, and eased my worries immediately regarding payment. She worked on my case diligently and removed an immense load of stress from my shoulders. Within days, my daughter was temporarily in my custody, to secure her safety, and we were able to proceed with a more permanent solution. The team managed to accomplish what I never could have alone.”

At the Heart of Our Community are people like Manuel and organizations like Open Legal Services where their mission is to bridge the justice gap by providing affordable legal services to low and moderate income people.

It’s what makes Our Community great!

For more information about the Open Legal Services or to donate visit: http://openlegalservices.org/about/donate/

Manuel’s story is brought to you through the Utah Bankers Heart of Our Community initiative. For more stories like Manuel’s follow our blog at www.heartofourcommunity.com or on FaceBook, Google+, Instagram or Twitter #heartofourcommunity #utahsbanks #openlegalservices