Family Law Facilitator
We help you to better understand your options and to better handle your family law case yourself. Services are FREE. We never become your attorney as we are available to help either self-represented side in a case at any time. Therefore, nothing you discuss with the Family Law Facilitator is legally confidential because there is no attorney-client relationship. As an office practice, we do not exchange information from one side to the other if we are assisting both sides at once.
If you need to go to court, you will be in court by yourself to present your case. (Don’t worry—many people are self-represented in family law and are able to do this.) Our office can help you to feel better prepared for your court appearances. If you want legal advice on case strategy, we recommend that you consult with your own private attorney. You can find an attorney through the Lawyer Referral Service of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association: (805) 569-9400.
What kind of issues can I discuss with the Family Law Facilitator?
You can get help with the following issue areas:
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Domestic violence
- Property division (limited assistance available)
- Divorce, legal separation, annulment
What kind of case can be I discuss with a Family Law Facilitator?
The Office of the Family Law Facilitator can help you in the following types of cases:
- Dissolution of marriage,
- Legal separation,
- Nullity of marriage,
- Department of Child Support Services parentage and child support case,
- Parentage case (unmarried parents with children),
- Child custody and support case, and
- Domestic Violence Restraining Order (for the Response only).
What can the Family Law Facilitator do for me in my case?
- Explain what is happening in your case and help you to understand your options
- Explain legal concepts and your options
- Help you to select appropriate legal paperwork
- Help you to understand how to complete your legal paperwork
- Help you to understand how to get your legal paperwork properly served and filed with the Clerk's Office of the Court
- Help you to process a Request to Waive Court Fees and related documents
- Help you with issues relating to the Department of Child Support Services, including applying for services (South County Family Law Facilitator only); understanding the calculation of support; investigating problems; and the completion, service and filing of legal papers
- Understand the calculation of child and spousal support
NOTE: The Office of the Family Law Facilitator does NOT help with:
- Guardianship or adoption cases
- Applications for a restraining order
Does the Family Law Facilitator act as my attorney?
No. If you work with the Family Law Facilitator, you are responsible for processing your own case. The goal of the Facilitator is to help you to better represent yourself. 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 who is self-represented is welcome to ask for help from the Facilitator.
When you speak with the Family Law Facilitator, by law your conversation is NOT private or confidential. As an office policy, the facilitator does not talk about your case with anyone. If the facilitator is subpoenaed to court, however, there is no attorney-client privilege that would protect your conversation and make it confidential.
How can I get help from the Family Law Facilitator?
SANTA BARBARA OFFICE (serving the Anacapa Division):
- APPOINTMENT BY TELEPONE, ZOOM OR IN-PERSON; CLASSES
In South County Santa Barbara you may meet the Family Law Facilitator (attorney) by appointment via telephone, Zoom, or in-person. Call 805.882.4660 to set an appointment.
- WALK-IN ASSISTANCE:
You may also walk in to the Family Law Facilitator's Office located in the Self-Help Center to receive basic information and assistance from support staff. The walk-in hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 12 noon and 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
- FREE CLASSES:
For help with divorce, legal separation, annulment or custody/visitation, you are strongly urged to first attend the FREE classes offered by the South County Family Law Facilitator. Click here: Family Law Zoom Classes | Superior Court of California | County of Santa Barbara .
These classes help you to:
- Understand the basic law and your options in the issue area
- Understand how to complete, serve and file the necessary legal forms to process your matter through court.
- CHILD SUPPORT, SPOUSAL SUPPORT, SIMPLE PROPERTY MEDIATION
The South County Family Law Facilitator also offers FREE child support and/or spousal support mediation as well as divorce judgment mediation by Zoom appointment.
All services are available only to persons without an attorney to represent them.
SANTA MARIA OFFICE (serving the Cook and Lompoc Divisions of the court):
The North County Family Law Facilitator offers in-person and phone appointments. We do not offer assistance in completing application packets for the Dept. of Child Support Services or assistance with service of process in complex cases.