Many people need legal help, but they are unable to afford it. There are many organizations and agencies that might be of assistance. Some of them are:
Legal Aid Agencies and Other Non-Profit Groups
- Most of these organizations help low-income people in need of legal assistance. They usually help in areas of family law, domestic violence, immigration or eviction issues. They are located throughout California. Try LawHelpCa.org to find an organization near you.
- Although limited in areas of law, government agencies can be a great source for people needing free legal assistance. In family law, your local child support agency [LCSA] can help you obtain child support from your child’s other parent. Telephone your LCSA at 1-866-901-3212, or get on the State of California web site at ca.gov and follow the prompts.
Non-profit and Public Interest Groups
- There are non-profit special interest groups that may be able to help you with your family law issues. Research these organizations by accessing the online website: LawHelpCa.org
- These organizations help people find lawyers. For low-income individuals, many of these services provide lawyers who will provide free or low-cost (usually between $20 and $45) initial consultations. A consultation may be all you need to get started and handle your own case; but many of these services also provide lawyers who will handle cases on a sliding income scale. To find these services, contact the California State Bar at calbar.gov or contact your local county bar association.
- Some attorney services will help you with your legal problems by handling the difficult parts of a case, while you handle the rest; such as you fill out the forms to increase your child support amount, and the lawyer will write the legal documentation (called a “brief”) in support of your case. Limited-Scope Representation is also called “unbundling.” Contact the state or local bar associations for referrals.
Court-based Self-Help Services
- All California courts have self-help centers equipped with family law facilitators to help people with their family law issues. Contact your local court or get online at courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-facilitators.htm for more information.