Not everyone in Modesto can afford a divorce attorney. This is evident by the number of self-represented parties in Stanislaus family court. Fortunately, parties who can’t afford an attorney have a number of resources to navigate the substantive law and court procedure.
Family Law Facilitator’s Office
The first stop for self-help resources when filing divorce in Stanislaus County is the Family Law Facilitator’s Office. They can help with straightforward cases by helping with forms and procedure. If you need some basic guidance with your routine family law case they may be able to help.
The second resource for self-represented parties in Stanislaus family court is the self-help center. The self-help center can help you in the following manner:
Help you select the proper legal forms based on what you are trying to accomplish.
Help you prepare paperwork to begin dissolution (divorce), legal separation or annulment, step-parent adoption or domestic violence restraining orders.
Assist you to prepare motions and/or orders to show cause and responses for custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and limited property issues.
Provide information and prepare draft calculations of support amounts based on statutory guidelines.
Review documents for completeness and instruction of how to file and serve the documents.
Instruction on what to expect and how to be prepare for a Court hearing.
Hold daily clinics in a classroom style setting to help you complete legal forms in all types of legal matters (not just family law).
Give you legal information and “How To” instructions in easy to understand language.
Referrals to other free self-help services (such as mediation) that can help resolve your case without having to go to Court.
Give you information about other free services and agencies that can help you help yourself.Stanislaus County Self-Help Center Website
Paralegal Document Preparer
This is a last resort. Some paralegals are very good and can help you with judicial council and local family law forms without offering legal advice. However, it’s difficult to gauge the knowledgeable and reputation of these non-attorney document preparers. A safer bet is to hire a divorce attorney for a flat fee to prepare your documents. Attorneys can offer procedural guidance and prepare the required forms to start your divorce. In addition, it’s easier to hold a licensed attorney to account if mistakes are made.