Self Help

Every superior court in California has legal help available in family law and in small claims cases and, in some cases, other legal issues as well. For example, the Los Angeles Superior Court has legal help available for people who are representing themselves in the following areas of the law

  • Family Law
  • Probate
  • Domestic Violence
  • Conservatorship and Elder Abuse
  • Guardianship
  • Landlord / Tenant

Below is an overview of court services provided by the Los Angeles Superior Court:

  • Family Law Facilitators
    Offered in each California court, a family law facilitator is a lawyer, or a paralegal supervised by a lawyer, with experience in family law who gives free legal help with child, spousal and partner support problems. Although the family law facilitators can't represent you in court, they can help you in preparing your own court forms and can give you general information. For hours and locations of the Los Angeles Superior Court's Family Law Facilitator Offices, click here.
  • Self-Help Centers
    Supervised by attorneys and provide assistance with the completion of court forms and court procedures related to a variety of legal problems, Los Angeles Superior Court's Self-Help Centers also offer free legal workshops for divorce, paternity, probate, guardianship and conservatorships. For hours and locations of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Self-Help Centers, click here.
  • Small Claims Advisors
    Provide free legal advice and assistance to individuals and businesses suing or being sued in a Los Angeles County Small Claims Court. Small claims advisors can assist you with court forms and court procedures.
  • Family Court Services (FCS)
    Provide mediation services to help divorcing and separating parents resolve disagreements about the care of their children.
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STATE JUDICIAL COUNCIL APPROVED FORMS

When you are involved in a court case, you must file legal documents explaining to the court what the dispute is and what you are asking for. To make sure your court documents have the information the court needs, the California courts have created a set of court forms called Judicial Council Forms which can be used in every Superior Court in California.

Judicial Council Forms provide you with an easy "check-the-box" format and are available for many civil, family law and criminal cases. The first step in completing a Judicial Council form is to see if the California Courts have developed a form for your specific legal problem. To view a complete list of Judicial Council forms, click here.

The California Courts also provide information and instructions about how to complete court forms in order to make a specific request in your case. Find your legal topic and related Judicial Council forms by clicking here.

Most Judicial Council forms are "fillable" and can be downloaded to a local computer and filled out. You can also print out any form and fill it out by hand. For help understanding how to use fillable court forms, click here.


LOCAL SUPERIOR COURT FORMS

In addition to Judicial Council forms, each Superior Court adopts court-specific "local forms" that you may need to start your case or as your case continues. To view a list of Los Angeles Superior Court local forms, click here.


FILE AT HOME FORM PROGRAMS

Fill out court forms online using the LA Superior Court's user-friendly forms completion programs. Programs available for Divorce, Child Custody & Visitation, Child Support, Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Guardianship, Limited Conservatorship, Evictions, Name Changes and Small Claims. To access the forms completion programs, click here.


PLEADING PAPER TEMPLATE

If you cannot find a Judicial Council Form for your exact legal problem, then you will need to create your own legal document on 28-line pleading paper in a very specific format. For pleading paper formatted for the Los Angeles Superior Court, click here. The California Rules of Court, starting with Rule 2.100, tell you what is required for any document you file with the court. You can find samples of legal documents created on pleading paper at the Library. A good starting point is Litigation by the Numbers or a form book set such as California Forms of Pleading and Practice.

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Find Your Court

Written by Published in Self Help

Learn to identify the proper courthouse in Los Angeles for your case type.    

You must file your lawsuit and associated documents at the proper courthouse. There are a number of factors that determine the appropriate filing location.  Some of these factors include:

  • the amount of your lawsuit
  • the court with jurisdiction for your case
  • the proper venue for hearing the case

 

The term jurisdiction refers to the authority a court has to decide a case. The term venue refers to the correct location of a court that may hear your case. To learn more about venue and jurisdiction and whether your case belongs in in California Superior Court, click here.  For help in determining whether you can file your case in federal court, click here.

Each of California’s 58 counties has at least one court location that handles small claims, limited and unlimited civil cases. If you are not sure what type of case you have, click here. For help locating your county’s court website, click here. If you do not know your county, you can also search by city or zip code and you will get a link to your county’s superior court.

Many California counties, including Los Angeles County, have more than one courthouse. If you do not know which courthouse handles cases like yours, use the Filing Court Locator on the Los Angeles Superior Courts website and search by city or zip code. For the address, hours, parking information and directions for each courthouse in Los Angeles County, click here.

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Credit, Debt & Money Issues: A legal process to protect a person or business who cannot pay their debts, and ensure that creditors are treated fairly.

LA Law Library Resources:

Lawyers in the Library: This program provides free 20-30 minute consultations with volunteer lawyers for people who have legal problems to discuss but do not have a lawyer representing them. Consultations may be either in person or by telephone depending on the patron’s preference and the availability of lawyers with expertise on the requested topic.

Live Classes:  Learn the basics of common areas of law, and how to take the next step.

In Person:

Zoom:

On Demand Videos: Access to recordings of some of our most popular classes.

External Resources:

Bankruptcy - A legal process to protect a person or business who cannot pay their debts, and ensure that creditors are treated fairly.

Credit & Debt - Money that is owed such as credit card bills, loan payments, etc., and the rights of the person who owes the money (debtor) and the person to whom it is owed (creditor).

General Resources:

Debtor Resources:

Creditor Resources: 

Credit & Credit Card Resources:

Auto Loan Payments - Payments relating to the purchase of an automobile or other vehicle.

Student LoansMoney borrowed by students to pay for or support their education.

Tax Filings / Tax Breaks - A benefit the government offers that reduces you total tax liability.

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Criminal Law

Written by Published in Self Help

Criminal Law: Laws that are punishable by imprisonment and the procedures for enforcing them.

Cleaning Criminal Records - Certain misdemeanors can be changed to "expunged" on your record showing the case was effectively dismissed.

Prisoners' Rights and Prison Release Protocols: Prison inmates' civil rights and procedures for obtaining release from incarceration.

Public Defender:

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