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Self-help will help you find assistance and information, work better with an attorney, and represent yourself in some legal matters.
The Family Law Facilitator office provides free legal assistance on a number of issues and is available to help both parties to a case.
Many Low Cost Help Resources are available in Sonoma County.
California Courts provide online help and downloadable state forms.
More and more people are using other ways to solve their legal problems outside of court. These alternatives are called "alternative dispute resolution," or "ADR" for short.
- La Consejería de Derecho Familiar proporciona asistencia legal gratuita con temas básicos de derecho familiar a las personas que no son representadas por un abogado. El personal está disponible para ayudar a ambas partes de un caso y puede ayudarlo a preparar sus propios formularios legales y darle información general acerca de su caso.
- When you are sued, you first need to decide whether you are going to respond to the lawsuit. If you choose to respond, you have to make sure you do it within the deadline, and you have to decide how you are going to respond. This is a really good time to talk to a lawyer for advice on whether to respond and, if so, how to best handle your case. If you are sued for credit card/consumer debt, the Civil Self-Help Center can assist with questions you may have regarding your lawsuit.
- Civil Harassment is abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or serious harassment by someone you have not dated and do not have a close relationship with, like a neighbor, a roommate, or a friend (that you have never dated). It is also civil harassment if the abuse is from a family member that is not included in the list under domestic violence. So, for example, if the abuse is from an uncle or aunt, a niece or nephew, or a cousin, it is considered civil harassment and not domestic violence.
Under California law, courts can make orders to protect an employee from suffering unlawful violence or credible threats of violence at the workplace.
The court can order a person to:
- Not harass or threaten the employee.
- Not contact or go near the employee.
- Not have a gun.
A workplace violence restraining order must be requested by an employer on behalf of an employee who needs protection. The court order can last up to 3 years. The order can also protect certain family or household members of the employee and other employees at the employee’s workplace or at other workplaces of the employer. These orders will be enforced by law enforcement agencies. Civil Self-Help Center can assist with questions you may have regarding this type of action.https://www.courts.ca.gov/1045.htm
In California, a landlord may be able to evict a tenant if the tenant:
- Fails to pay the rent on time.
- Breaks the lease or rental agreement and will not fix the problem (like keeping your cat when pets are not allowed).
- Damages the property bringing down the value (commits "waste").
- Becomes a serious nuisance by disturbing other tenants and neighbors even after being asked to stop.
- Uses the property to do something illegal.
In most cities, the landlord can also evict the tenant:
- If the tenant stays after the lease is up.
- If the landlord cancels the rental agreement by giving proper notice.
If your city has rent control, these 2 reasons may not be good enough to evict a tenant. Contact your local city or county government office to find out if you live in a rent-controlled area. Or talk to your self-help center, or a lawyer for help. A landlord cannot evict a tenant for an illegal reason like discrimination or to get back at the tenant for taking action against the landlord, like filing a complaint because the property’s heating system is broken. Civil Self-Help Center can assist with questions you may have regarding this type of action.