Family Law Facilitator
The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney who can help you to represent yourself in child support and family law matters. The 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. You can get help with an existing case or in starting a case. The Facilitator can help you select the proper legal forms and provide instructions for completing, serving and filing documents with the clerk's office. If you need to go to court to present your case to a judge or commissioner, you will present your case alone. The Family Law Facilitator is not your attorney. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Family Law Facilitator. The facilitator can equally help you and the other party (for example, your former spouse, the parent of your child, etc.). Anyone is welcome to ask for help from the facilitator. The Facilitator provides information and explains options without giving legal advice. If you want help with case strategy, you should consult with your own attorney for legal advice. When you speak with the Family Law Facilitator, your conversation is not private or confidential.
The Family Law Facilitator's Office is dedicated to helping self-represented litigants better understand family law procedures, increase their access to the family law courts, and obtain a quicker resolution of their family law matters.
The Family Law Facilitator CAN:
- Help you select the proper legal forms.
- Help you with the paperwork to establish, modify or terminate child and/or spousal support orders.
- Explain the process of establishing paternity, and provide you with the necessary paperwork to establish paternity.
- Help you with 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.
- Help you 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.
- Help you with answers to DCSS complaints.
- Assist in motions to set aside previous rulings in appropriate cases.
- Assist in preparing and filing Proofs of Service.
- Assist you with wage assignments.
- Fee waiver applications
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. 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.
- Assist with Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), Grandparent petitions for visitation, Legal research or points and authorities, or with Appeals or writs.
- Be responsible for the outcome of your case.
What Should I Bring with Me?
- A copy of all court documents relating to your case, particularly any current judgments or orders.
- Papers, documents, letters that you have received from the Department of Child Support Services or from the other party concerning your case.
- For financial issues:
- Written proof of your income from all sources for the past 12 months.
- Pay stubs for the last two months.
- Your W-2 forms for last year.
- If you are disabled, proof of your disability and monthly disability income.
- If you are unemployed, proof of your unemployment and monthly unemployment income.
- Information about your monthly living expenses, including housing, utilities, insurance, food, transportation, education, clothing, daycare expenses, and any extraordinary expenses related to health care and catastrophic losses.
- Names and birthdates of your children and an estimate of your custody/visitation with each child.
- Filing fees, if you don't qualify for a fee waiver. In Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) cases, no filing fees are required ONLY on support issues.
Topics discussed at the Family Law Facilitator's Office may not be appropriate for minor children. If you have minor children, you are encouraged to make other child care arrangements while visiting the facilitator's office.
Self-Help Services for Non-Child/Spousal Support Matters
The Family Law Facilitator can only provide limited assistance in the preparation of documents for general Family Law matters (including parentage, child and spousal support, health insurance coverage, and wage assignments). The Colusa County Superior Court recognizing the need of self-represented litigants to meaningful access to the courts has expanded its services beyond limited Family Law by funding a Self-Help Center.
The Colusa County Superior Court Family Law Facilitator’s Office and the Self-Help Center are housed together. The Self-Help Center provides free legal and procedural assistance to individuals without an attorney. All services are provided free of charge.
Services available at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office/ Self– Help Center
The Family Law Facilitator’s Office/Self-Help Center provides you assistance in the following areas of law:
- Divorce, Legal Separation, & Annulment.
- Domestic Violence.
- Child Custody & Visitation.
- Child and Spousal Support.
- Change of Venue.
- Civil Harassment.
- Step-Parent Adoptions.
- Name Change.
For more information, visit the Self-Help webpage on this site.
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