What Resources are Available to Me if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

March 27, 2024 | By Doppelt and Forney
What Resources are Available to Me if I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

San Diego Superior Court Family Law Facilitator Assists Parents And Spouses At No Charge For Divorce, Paternity And Legal Separation Cases

The San Diego Family Law Facilitator is a very good resource and assists litigants [married and unmarried] at no charge in filling out pleadings for their legal separation, paternity or divorce. This is funded by San Diego County. The Family Law Facilitator is located in the following San Diego County Court Houses:

  • North County in Vista
  • South County in Chula Vista
  • East County in El Cajon
  • Downtown in San Diego on Sixth and Cedar

NOTE: there is also a Family Law Facilitator’s Office at the court house at 220 West Broadway however this is primarily for San Diego DCSS support cases.

While the Family Law Facilitators office will not represent you in court, they can assist in the filing of the petition for divorce, legal separation or paternity or for the response for these family law cases. In addition, if you have issues for custody and visitation and need to set a parenting plan, they can assist you in filling out the Request for Order Judicial Council Form which is mandatory to set the mediation and the court hearing for a San Diego Superior Court Judge to make orders for visitation and custody.

If you need to file for child support or spousal support, they can also assist in the pleadings or response to pleadings. There is an on line workshop reservation system on the website.

San Diego Superior Court Official Website For Family Law

If you are not an experienced family law attorney, you will need to educate yourself on some family law procedures and codes if you are going to represent yourself and the Court website is an excellent resource. This is most important since a Judge can hold you to the same standard as an attorney.

The San Diego Superior Court website has information on self help services, filing your case, form and also frequently asked questions. In addition, there is information on divorce & paternity, custody & visitation, child support, domestic violence, family law local rules, what the fees are, locations of the court houses, hours of the court houses, legal court holiday and appeals. In addition, there are template forms for the mandatory settlement conference and/or trial brief which are very useful.

San Diego County Law Library

There are four locations in San Diego County: El Cajon; Chula Vista, Vista and downtown. The San Diego County Law Library has many services which you can use at no charge.

There are educational information about family law topics including division of assets, division of debts, attorney fee requests and motions, best interests of children including stability, bonding and frequent and continuing contact. The list of topics and materials is much too long to list in this article and they have many resources to help you.

The Legal Aid Society of San Diego is available to individuals with low incomes & disadvantaged communities. While the Society handles many different legal problems, they also assist with family disputes and also family benefits payments. The criteria for qualification for their free services are set by the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. If you qualify, this is a good resource to consider.

San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program

In San Diego since 1983 and over 30 years, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program has accepted clients for legal representation at no cost. This is a non-profit organization and private organization. In fact, the San Diego County Volunteer Lawyer Program is San Diego County's largest and oldest pro bono legal services program. They assist with family law cases and, again, are a very good resource if you qualify per their requirements.

If You Consider A Law Firm, Consider Doppelt and Forney, APLC

Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a local law firm in San Diego. If you decide, for any reason not to represent yourself, please call them to set up your free in-person or virtual consultation. This is without obligation and an attorney will discuss with you your legal rights and how you can move forward to try and obtain your goals.