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The best option for San Diego spouses and parents is to hire an experienced California licensed attorney to represent you in Family Law Court. Only licensed lawyers are permitted by law to represent clients in Court. As the attorney is licensed by the California State Bar Association, you have assurance that they have active license to practice law. It is so important to have legal representation to make sure your rights are protected. The law is very complicated and has many technicalities and also exceptions for many rules. Not knowing your legal rights and entering into an agreement may cost you more than the legal fees paid. For some, however, the legal fees associated with hiring an attorney are cost prohibitive. Legal fees can be several hundred dollars per hour and a retainer [deposit] is required by the vast majority of attorneys and can be several thousands of dollars. Below is some information for obtaining qualified help with your case without hiring an attorney. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience in cases involving child custody and visitation as well as division of debts and assets and support for both spousal and child.
The first option is the Family Law Facilitator and link provided below for more information. This is a San Diego County Department and offers many services including assistance in filling out the pleadings and procedures. They are not attorneys and will not represent you in Court but there is no charge for their service and is an option. It is not advised to represent yourself without some help from a qualified professional and the Staff at the FLF is qualified and experienced in family law cases. It is recommended to go early as they can get very busy. You can also schedule a workshop on line through their reservation system and they have self help services. They also have a new feature: Family Law Facilitator Message Board which could be useful for your case. Their department is located in all of the court houses and these are listed below at end of this article.See the Family Law Facilitator's Office (FLF)
The second option is through the San Diego County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Program. They offer a program called “Modest Means Panel” and the legal fees are $75 per hour with a $1,000 retainer as opposed to the vast majority of family law attorneys in San Diego whose hourly fees can be much higher with retained in the thousands. There is a sliding scale depending on income and assets and dependents. A link is below for qualification. Their phone number is 619-231-8585 and you can call and speak with a Counselor to start the pre screening process and receive an application. With the application, you will need send 3 paystubs which are current as well as 3 months of bank statements. If you qualify, they will refer you to an attorney who will be assigned to your case. For example, if you own items or property with equity which is less than $30,000 and there are 2 persons in your household, then the income ceiling is $4,400. Make sure to verify as programs can change. See on Modest Means Program
You may reach Doppelt and Forney, APLC at 800-769-4748. They offer a 30 minute free in-person or virtual consultation with a California licensed lawyer. At your consultation, you may ask questions and obtain answers so you can make intelligent and informed decisions with realistic expectations. Doppelt and Forney, APLC is located at the I-15 at Bernardo Center Drive in San Diego. Their firm represents clients in court houses including downtown San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon and Vista. They offer a full service law firm with both full time staff and attorneys to work as a team. available to assist you with your case.