The Morgan County Circuit Clerk is warning residents not to pay for certain legal forms that are available to the public for free.
Morgan County Circuit Clerk Amy Sipes says she and her office staff have noticed a disturbing trend of residents coming into her office after having paid exorbitant fees for certain documentation like an application for a U.S. Passport or court forms.
Sipes says many of these documents are available in her or office or online free of charge. “We’ve had three different issues in the last week where someone paid online to fill out a passport application. We have the forms in our office for free. There is a website that is travel.state.gov which you can go to and fill out the forms, download and print them for free.
For court forms, there are forms out there that are free as well. You can go to Illinoislegalaid.org, or you can go to the Morgan County Circuit Clerk’s website and there is AOIC Access to Justice forms there. You just follow the prompts and you can fill out the forms, download them and print them for free as well.”
Sipes says there is a fee associated with actually filing some of the forms in her office, but no one should have to pay to access and fill out the forms. She says they recently had one individual who said they paid upwards of $300.00 for forms to file for divorce that they could have obtained free of charge.
Sipes says if the website you are using asks for payment to access the form, stop and contact her office or one of the listed free websites first. For more information go to the Circuit Clerk’s website under the County Departments tab at morgancounty-il.com, or call the Circuit Clerk’s Office at 217-243-5419.