The Family Law Facilitator office and staff give free assistance to self-represented litigants (individuals in a legal action who do not have an attorney) in limited family law related matters.
The office provides legal forms and procedural guidance in the following areas: paternity actions, child support and spousal support.
Due to grant funding restrictions, the Office of the Family Law Facilitator can only give assistance in limited areas of family law related matters. The Self-Help Center can give assistance with all other family law matters not offered by the Office of the Family Law Facilitator, in addition to help with landlord/tenant cases, small claims and debt collection matters.
Services are free and there are no income qualifying requirements. Assistance is provided daily on a walk-in first come, first served basis or clinics (classroom style setting) and limited assistance is available by telephone or email, except in confidential cases.
The Facilitator can:
- Compute the guideline amount for child or spousal support
- Explain what documents you will need to get a support order
- Explain how to get support increased or decreased
- Explain how to get a Court order for support enforcement, wage assignment, etc.
- Assist you and the other party in arriving at an agreement and prepare documents reflecting an agreement
- Review your Court documents for completeness
- Provide you with "How To" instructions on family law topics
- Provide you with information about the other services and agencies which can help you to help yourself
- Refer you to where you may get help if you are in an abusive relationship
- Refer you to where you may get help if the other parent is hiding your child
The Facilitator cannot:
- Act as your attorney, but only as a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship or privilege between you and any office staff. The staff at the Office of the Family Law Facilitator are employees of the Court and represent the Court, not the people who use its services. Because we do not represent individuals, the Office of the Family Law Facilitator may assist both parties in a case. Communications between you and the Office of the Family Law Facilitator are not confidential.
- Attend any Court hearing with you. If you need to go to Court to present your case, you will present your case alone.
- May not be able to provide assistance with complex cases. You are advised to seek the services of a private attorney in such situations. The Office of the Family Law Facilitator may not assist parties who are represented by an attorney.
- Be responsible for the outcome of your case.
Other Helpful Resources
For basic definitions of legal terms and a detailed explanation of each type of family law action click here.
For calculating your own child or spousal support click here.
For access to the California Courts online Self-Help Center for Libraries, Websites, Self-Help Legal Books and Judicial Council Forms in English, click here.
For access to the California Courts online Self-Help Center for Libraries, Websites, Self-Help Legal Books and Judicial Council Forms in Spanish, click here.
For additional information or assistance with collecting or enforcing child support, please contact the Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services at (866)901-3212. Click here to visit their website.
The California Department of Child Support Services has many helpful pamphlets available online including information about establishing the Parental Relationship (Paternity), opening a child support case, establishing or changing support orders, wage assignments for support, resolving problems with your support case and other helpful topics. All materials are free and are available in a number of different languages. Click here to view.
The State Bar of California has helpful information in several free pamphlets and booklets, including one on Kids & The Law. Click here to view.
Office of the Family Law Facilitator Disclosure
The Office of the Family Law Facilitator is available to help both parents and all other parties who have questions about family law issues, including child support, spousal support, health insurance and the availability of community resources to help families. The Office of the Family Law Facilitator can help you in preparing your own forms and can give you general information. The Office of Family Law Facilitator cannot go with you to Court.
The Office of the Family Law Facilitator IS NOT YOUR LAWYER but is neutral and does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Office of the Family Law Facilitator. The Office of the Family Law Facilitator may provide information and services to the other party in your case. Communications between you and the Office of the Family Law Facilitator are not confidential. You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation or to be represented by an attorney in court. The Office of the Family Law Facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case.