The Office of the Family Law Facilitator provides assistance to self-represented litigants (parties to a lawsuit who do not have an attorney) in handling their child and spousal support cases. The Office of the Family Law Facilitator provides information and explains options without giving legal advice. When assisted by the Facilitator, you are still in control by making the decision as to what action to pursue in relation to your case.
The Self-Help Center is available to provide information and assistance with your family support or family law case. There is no charge for these services, click here. For Spanish click here.
The Family Law Facilitator CAN:
- Help you select the proper legal forms, and in some cases, complete the forms and file the forms.
- Prepare the paperwork to establish, modify or terminate child and/or spousal support orders;
- Explain the process of establishing paternity, and prepare the necessary paperwork to establish paternity;
- Prepare Motions and/or Orders to Show Cause and responses to establish, modify or terminate a child support, spousal support or health insurance order; determine arrears; release licenses; establish repayment plans; seek reimbursement for overpayments; and, quash or modify wage assignment orders;
- Prepare Orders After Hearing for child support, spousal support, establishment of paternity or disestablishment of paternity;
- Provide information and prepare draft calculations of support amounts based on statutory guidelines;
- Provide referrals to DCSS (Department of Child Support Services), Family Court Services and other community agencies;
- Prepare answers to DCSS complaints;
- Prepare motions to set aside previous rulings in appropriate cases;
- Assist in preparing and filing Proofs of Service;
- Prepare wage assignments; and
- Prepare fee waiver applications.
These services are provided by the Family Law Facilitator's Office free of charge.
The Family Law Facilitator CANNOT:
- Act as your attorney, but solely as a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship or privilege between you and any office staff. The staff at the Family Law Facilitator's office are employees of the Fresno County Superior Court and represent the court, not the people who use its services. Because we do not represent individuals, the Family Law Facilitator's Office may assist both parties in a case. Communications between you and the Family Law Facilitator's Office are not confidential.
- Attend any court hearing with you. If you need to go to court to present your case, you will present your case alone.
- May not be able to provide assistance with complex cases. You are advised to seek the services of a private attorney in such situations. The Family Law Facilitator's Office may not assist parties who are represented by an attorney.
- Be responsible for the outcome of your case.
What to Bring When you Visit the Facilitator's Office:
- A copy of any court documents relating to your case.
- Your case number.
- Information about your income and expenses.
- Your last three paycheck stubs.
- Your last tax return.
- If support is an issue, information about the other party's income.
- Any 1099 paperwork showing disability or unemployment assistance payments or other benefits received.
- Filing fees, if you do not qualify for a fee waiver.
- Someone to translate, if English is not your primary language.
Self-Help Services for Non-Child/Spousal Support Matters:
Due to grant funding limitations, the Family Law Facilitator can only set limited appointments and provide limited assistance in the preparation of documents for Family Law matters such as divorce, custody or visitation. Although the Family Law Facilitator can only provide limited assistance in the preparation of documents for general Family Law matters (including dissolution, child custody, visitation, domestic violence), the court recognizes the need for legal assistance in these areas.
SELF-HELP informational packets are available for a nominal charge through the Family Law Facilitator's Office or they may be acquired from this website by clicking on Forms. You have the option of downloading easy to understand instructional packets complete with court forms, as well as the option of downloading fillable or blank Judicial Council forms. Facilitator staff is available to speak with customers to help determine which self-help packet to utilize for a given situation. The forms are to be completed by the party/customer. Computers are available for public use for the completion of these forms. Facilitator staff will not complete these forms on behalf of the customers but will review the papers to determine if they are complete and ready for filing. Since the Facilitator funding is dedicated to the child and/or spousal support litigants, they must be given priority service. Completed paperwork from self-help litigants will be reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. As a result, self-help customers can expect to spend a few hours at the office.
Other Facilitators Related Topics
See the information and FAQs on the following topics on the Family Law page:
- Child Support
- Department of Child Support Services
- Child Support Modifications
- Interest on Child Support
- Duration of a Child Support Order
- Health Insurance
- Spousal Support
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Establishing Parentage (Paternity)
- Termination of a Marriage
- Community Property and Separate Property Defined
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
- Civil Harassment