Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Self-Help Center - Family Law Facilitator

General Information

The Self-Help Center offers assistance with the completion of legal forms and provides procedural guidance in most areas of Family Law, including: child support, spousal support, child custody, visitation, dissolution, legal separation, nullity, establishment of paternity, domestic violence restraining orders and probate guardianships.

At this time, no assistance is given to litigants on civil harassment restraining orders, emergency (ex parte) orders, contempt proceedings, qualified domestic relations orders for other than child support, adoptions, minor emancipations, or Code of Civil Procedure 170.6. Most services are provided via the web using e-Correspondence.

Disclosure / Scope of Self-Help

The Self-Help Center is here to help persons not represented by an attorney. The information provided to assist persons in completing and processing forms is not intended as legal advice about what to request or expect from the court. No one in the Self-Help Center may predict the outcome of your issues or case. Please do not incorrectly state or imply to others that the Self-Help Center has told you what you can expect from the court. The Self-Help Center does not represent anyone and may assist all parties in your case. Further, the information exchanged through this office is not confidential.

Services available at the Self-Help Center

The Self-Help Center provides assistance with the following matters:

  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Divorce/Legal Separation/Annulment
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Parentage
  • Domestic Violence
  • Guardianship

The Self-Help Center provides free legal, procedural assistance to individuals without an attorney in the areas of Family Support, Domestic Violence, Family Law and Probate. The Self-Help Center also houses a Community Resource Room for anyone in need of referrals to community services. All services are provided free of charge.

The Self-Help Center does not provide legal advice or representation, but we can provide referrals to local attorneys. Most services are provided through workshops or via the web using e-Correspondence.

What type of assistance will I receive?

The Self-Help Center provides the following types of assistance:

  • Information on how to open a case
  • Instruction on completion of court forms
  • Assistance responding to court forms
  • Preparation of support calculations
  • Instructions on follow-up steps
  • Preparation of Orders and Judgments
  • Referrals to other resources

File review and assistance determining next steps are only available through e-Correspondence.

E-Correspondence Assistance

Litigants who would like procedural assistance or help determining the next steps in their case must contact us using our E-Correspondence System. E-Correspondence assistance is available to any self-represented party in a family law, domestic violence, family support or guardianship case filed in Sacramento County Superior Court. Please note that if you have a confidential file and your e-mail address does not match the address on file for you with the court, we will be unable to assist you via our E-Correspondence System.

We do not offer assistance via regular email. If you would like to receive assistance without coming into our office, you must register and use our E-Correspondence System.

What can I expect?

If you come to the Self-Help Center in person, you must first get a number from the Information Booth. When your number is called, you will be required to show photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification include a driver license, passport, United States military identification or a legal permanent resident card. Consular identification is not accepted. Depending on the legal issue you wish to address, you may be referred to our e-Correspondence service.

Please be aware that in-person service is limited due to our funding and provided on a first-come, first-served basis. You should plan to spend at least a half-day when you visit the Self-Help Center. It is recommended that you arrive early. If you have been served court papers, you must bring all of those forms with you to receive assistance. If you plan to file your response the same day, you must also bring envelopes with postage for service on every other party to the case.

What should I bring with me?

Each time you visit the Self-Help Center, please remember to bring the following items:

  • Photo identification
  • Your case number
  • A blue or black ink pen
  • Change for the photocopier and/or parking

Family Court Resource Referral Program

The Resource Referral Program helps parents locate court-referred services. Lists of court-approved service providers are available through the Resource Referral Program, where you can download a list without coming to the Court.

Community Resource Room

The Community Resource Room is located off the lobby of the Self-Help Center. Staff from 2-1-1 Sacramento is available in the Resource Room to assist in locating community resources. Customers may browse the brochure racks for information or may meet individually with 2-1-1 staff. Also available in the Resource Room are two video monitors where customers may view a variety of check-out videos on topics related to the Family Court, including Conservatorship, Guardianship, Domestic Violence and Paternity Declarations.

Workshops

The Family Law Facilitator's Office offers several forms preparation workshops. Information on how to sign up for workshops is included in the workshop descriptions below.

If you are appearing for a scheduled workshop, you may proceed directly to the location on your appointment notice.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order Workshop

Information on this workshop can be found on the Domestic Violence page.

Parentage Workshop (UPA)

This workshop is for parents who are not married to each other and wish to start a case for custody, visitation, and child support. The parentage workshop is held Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. by appointment only. You may sign up for this workshop through e-Correspondence or in person at the Self-Help Center, Monday through Thursday before 3:00 p.m.

Dissolution Workshop

This workshop is for persons who want a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. This workshop is also used to start a case for custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and property division. The dissolution workshop is held Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. by appointment only. You may sign up for this workshop through e-Correspondence or in person at the Self-Help Center, Monday through Thursday before 3:00 p.m.

Request for Order Workshop

This workshop is for parties who have a case in Sacramento County and want to request a hearing. The Request for Order workshop is held Thursday at 1:00 p.m. by appointment only. To sign up for this workshop, you must contact us through e-Correspondence. Request for Order workshop appointments are not scheduled in person.

Income and Expense Declaration / Financial Disclosures Workshop

This workshop does exactly what the name implies--helps litigants complete an Income and Expense Declaration and/or the Financial Disclosures required in Dissolution, Legal Separation, and Annulment cases. The workshop is open to anyone wishing to complete these forms, regardless of the type of case they may have. This workshop is offered Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and does not require an appointment. Litigants wishing to attend the workshop are encouraged to arrive early on the day you wish to attend and bring with you your photo ID, case number, a blue or black ink pen, W-2's for the previous year, pay stubs for the past two months and a calculator not a cellular telephone). Space is limited and the workshop is offered on a first come-first served basis only.

One Day Divorce Clinic

Information on this program and the eligibility requirements can be found on the One Day Divorce page.