Empirical data reveals that many California family courts operate a two-track system of justice where unrepresented litigants are treated differently than litigants with counsel. The most dramatic disparities often occur in cases where only one party is represented by a lawyer. In one-attorney cases, pro per litigants routinely are deprived of fair and equitable judicial decisions on critical issues like child custody, support, and the division of community assets. In many California jurisdictions, oversight and accountability for judge and attorney misconduct is nonexistent.
Like a library, we also guide members of the public to appropriate legal materials so they can conduct their own legal research. FCAC and our staff take great care to avoid the unauthorized practice of law. The staff of FCAC will not give legal opinions or advice, nor will they comment upon or explain the meaning of legal materials. We also do not fill out legal forms or advise on how to fill out a legal form.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL LEGAL ADVICE BE GIVEN
If you are unable or unwilling to conduct your own legal research, we recommend the following resources:
- For help for filling out a legal form, one option is to hire a Legal Document Assistant. To locate a Legal Document Assistant, contact the California Association of Legal Document Assistants at www.calda.org.
- For Family Court matters, contact the Family Law Facilitator in your county. The Judicial Council of California provides a Family Law Facilitator Directory at this link.
- For all legal matters, the Judicial Council also offers information about free and lost cost legal help at this link.
- To hire an attorney, contact your local Bar Association or use the State Bar of California website. The State Bar offers a useful brochure "How Can I Find and Hire the Right Lawyer."
- The State Bar also offers the following pamphlets, and other titles, at this link:
- How Do I Use The Small Claims Court
- What Should I Know About Divorce and Custody