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Self-Help Services

If you do not have an attorney, the Self-Help Center and Family Law Facilitator staff and volunteers may be able to assist you with procedural information and instruction on completing forms.

Services we offer

We help people who need legal information but don't have a lawyer. We can answer questions about your case, help you figure out which forms you need and how to fill them out, and explain different legal options. Our staff don't give legal advice (we can tell you how to do something but we can't tell you what choice you should make) and we are not your attorneys. We may refer you to a private attorney or another resource depending on your situation. Our services are free of charge.   

NOTE: We can only provide information and assistance with matters in California, and sometimes only in Alameda County. If you have a case in another state, we cannot assist you with that case.

Case types we can help with

  • Divorce
    • Click here for information on the Alameda County divorce process
    • Click here for information on U.S. military status and default judgments
  • Parentage
  • Petition for Custody and Support
  • Restraining Orders: Domestic ViolenceCivil HarassmentElder AbuseWorkplace Violence (limited assistance)
    • Click here for next steps after completing Temporary Restraining Order forms in Alameda County
    • Haga clic aquí para conocer los próximos pasos después de completar los formularios de Orden de restricción temporal en el condado de Alameda
    • Click hereto watch a video on Serving Your Civil Harassment Restraining Order Court Forms
  • Name & Gender Change
  • Small Claims
    • Click here for information to know before you sue someone (if you sue someone, you are the Plaintiff)
    • Click here for information if you’ve been sued (if you are sued, you are the Defendant)
    • Click here for information about collecting your judgment if you win your Small Claims case
    • Click here to watch a video on Serving Your Small Claims Forms
  • Unlawful Detainer
  • Limited Conservatorship
    • Click here for more information about our workshops
    • Haga clic aquípara obtener más información sobre nuestros talleres.
  • Guardianship of the Minor
    • Click here for more information about our workshops
    • Haga clic aquí para obtener más información sobre nuestros talleres.
  • Debt Collection (limited assistance)
    • See More Resources below for Consumer Debt Clinic
  • Fee Waivers

Information about civil cases

  • General Civil Cases* NOTE: The Self-Help Center does not assist with general civil cases. This section provides information that may be helpful to guide you if you have questions about a general civil case. You are encouraged to seek legal advice if you need additional assistance.
    • Click here for information on Civil cases in California
    • Click here for information to know before you sue someone and click here for the steps to sue someone (if you sue someone, you are the Plaintiff)
    • Click here for information if you’ve been sued (if you are sued, you are the Defendant)

How to get help

Drop-in services are currently suspended but you may contact us via LiveChat or phones to be screened for an in-person or remote appointment.

Call us

(510) 272-1393

Monday - Thursday, 2:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Voicemails can only be left during phone hours. Calls are returned within 5 business days.

Chat with us

LiveChat Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. 

Click the widget located on the bottom right corner of this page during our LiveChat hours.  We may stop taking new chats before the stated hours once we reach capacity.

NOTE: If you do not see the LiveChat Widget, click this to try again.

Click here and find the LiveChat Widget at bottom right corner

Workshops available

Start Divorce/Legal Separation/Annulment case

  • The next workshop will be on February 7, 2024 and March 6, 2024 at 1:30PM.  Contact us for an appointment.

Financial Disclosures

  • The next workshop will be on February 14, 2024 and March 13, 2024 at 1:30PM. Contact us for an appointment.

Start Small Claims

  • The next workshops will be on February 21, 2024 and March 20, 2024 at 1:30PM. Contact us for an appointment.
  • Click hereto watch a video on Serving Your Small Claims Forms

Workshops and appointments available for those who need Language Assistance.

Please call us Monday - Thursday, 2:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M. to be scheduled for a workshop or appointment.

(510) 272-1393

Forms @ home

"Law Help Interactive (LHI)" allows you to complete online interviews for certain types of legal actions.  Once the interview is complete the required forms may be printed.  Once printed, the forms may be submitted to the Court for filing. 

More Resources

  • Representing Yourself

    Useful information about representing yourself in Court

  • Prepare for Self-Help Services

    What you can expect from working with our Self-Help Staff

  • Self-Help Videos

    Watch helpful videos about serving your Court forms

  • Partner Clinic

    East Bay Community Law Center

    Offers clinics for: 

    Consumer Debt Clinic

    Eviction Defense

    Traffic Clinic

    https://ebclc.org/

  • Partner Clinic

    Legal Access Alameda

    Offers clinics for: 

    Low Income Landlord

    Bankruptcy

    Family Law

    https://www.vlsc-acba.org/

  • Partner Clinic

    Family Violence Law Center

    Offers clinic for:

    Domestic Violence Pro Per Project

    https://fvlc.org/

  • Partner Organization

    Legal Assistance for Seniors

    Offers services for: 

    Guardianship of the Minor

    Limited Conservatorship

    https://www.lashicap.org/

  • Families Change

    A guide to separation and divorce. Resources are available for all members of the family.

  • Division FAQs

    The list of FAQ's by Court Division

  • Resource Center

    Additional information and resources

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