Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

2.2 - Getting Help with Your Case

2.2 - Getting Help with Your Case

Before we start this section, we want to provide you with some information about ways to find legal help as you go through the separation process.

There are many ways to find legal help.

Self Help Website

One way is to use the  California Court’s online self help center at www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm to find legal information on specific family-law related topics.

Facilitator and Self Help Center

Another way is to go to the Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center. Every county in California has a Family Law Facilitator or Self Help Center in the family court. Family law facilitators and self-help center attorneys are experienced attorneys who can provide information on the process for family law and help with the paperwork and procedures for divorce, legal separation, parentage, and other cases.  They work for the court and can help both parents with their case at no charge. 

If you need to find legal help quickly and know what kind of help you need, here is a list of resources:

Dispute resolution programs

You might also consider participating in a dispute resolution program. Many communities have "dispute resolution" programs. These programs can try to help "mediate" or work out problems instead of going to court, so you may not need a lawyer. Find more information on resolving your dispute out of court, go to www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-adr.htm.

Limited Scope Representation

Another option is to hire a limited scope representation lawyer. When you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer to handle your entire case, limited-scope representation can be a great way for you to have legal help with your case while keeping costs down.

Limited-scope representation is when you and a lawyer agree that the lawyer will handle some parts of your case and you will handle other parts. This is different from more traditional arrangements between lawyers and clients where a lawyer is hired to provide legal services on all aspects of a case, from start to finish. Limited-scope representation is sometimes called “unbundling” or “discrete task representation.”