A family law self help center is designed to provide individual with the resources and information necessary to represent themselves in cases of family law. These facilities often include information about the court practices and procedures, as well as forms that may be necessary for various types of cases. It is important to understand, however, that the center will not provide legal advice and will not represent you in court.
The center does not advise on strategy or how to conduct yourself in court. If this is what you desire, speaking with an attorney may be your best option. In fact, many centers will encourage individuals to seek legal counsel. It is also important to keep in mind that any conversation with the staff at these centers is not confidential or protected by client-attorney privilege.
Family law cases are often distressful no matter the case. While many other legal cases are also stressful, cases involving family law are often personal and close to home, placing an added amount of stress on those members of the family who are involved. A family law self help center is often a very good resource for information for those who feel like they do not have a clue where to get started or where to turn to get a legal matter rolling.
These centers will often contain information differentiating between a divorce, legal separation and an annulment, as well as the different forms of divorce that a couple may pursue. In cases of domestic abuse, it will often contain information of where to find help for yourself, if you're the one being abused, an employee or for somebody else. In these cases it will often list the National Domestic Violence Hotline phone number as well as other resources. The center may also provide information regarding child custody, visitation and child support and other matters involving divorce.
While it is typically a good idea to seek legal counsel when getting divorced, a family law self help center is a good first stop for many individuals unsure of what they must do to accomplish their goals. At the very least, it may reduce the time necessary for the attorney to explain various options and legal proceedings, which may help reduce the time spent paying the attorney's hourly rate on an initial consultation or subsequent meetings. This will greatly benefit you as divorces can become costly when done in a disorganized fashion.