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Family Law Facilitator & Self-Help Center

Important Notice Regarding Services

About Self-Help Services

The Sonoma County Superior Court Family Law Facilitator & Self-Help Center provides free legal information and procedural help to people without lawyers in family law, guardianship and limited conservatorship cases.

Our staff can:

  • Give you basic legal information.
  • Help you understand the court process.
  • Help you prepare your own legal forms.
  • Refer you to other legal resources in the area.

Our staff can’t:

  • Give you legal advice, opinion or strategy.
  • Be your lawyer or find you a lawyer.
  • Help you with any issue or case for which you have a lawyer.
  • Help you with someone else’s case or someone else with your case.

See the “What Kind of Help is Available” section below for a list of the specific legal issues we do and don’t help with.

Other Important Information

Our staff are neutral court employees. You don’t have an attorney-client relationship with any member of our staff, which means:

  • Your communication with our staff isn’t legally privileged or confidential.
  • Our staff can help the opposing party (the other person) in your case.
  • Our staff isn’t responsible for the outcome of your case.

Talk to a private attorney if you want advice, opinion or strategy, to have a confidential conversation or to be represented by a lawyer in court.

More on Family Law Facilitator’s Services

Click on the topics below for more information or jump to Frequently Asked Family Law Questions.

Family Law FAQ

We provide information and help with forms for basic legal issues in family law cases and two types of probate cases: guardianships of the person and limited conservatorships.

The lists below are meant as a guide and not a guarantee of services.

We help with: We don't help with:
Annulment (nullity) Any case or issue for which you have a lawyer
Child custody and visitation Appeals
Child support Collections, other than earnings assignment orders for child or spousal support*
Divorce Complex property division
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Contempt
Earnings Assignment Orders for child and spousal support Discovery (subpoenas, depositions, interrogatories, admissions, production of documents, motions to quash or compel, etc.)
Grandparent visitation Emancipation
Guardianships of the person Enforcement of property or non-support money judgments (writs of execution, liens, levies, etc.)*
Joinder of retirement/employee benefit plans Evidence
Judgments and Orders After Hearing 
(only if both parties are self-represented)
General conservatorships
Legal separation Guardianships of the estate
Parentage (paternity) Name or gender changes*
Procedures for service of process Non-stepparent adoptions
Requests for Order (asking the judge to make or change an order in a family law case) Non-family law restraining orders (for civil harassment, elder abuse or workplace violence)*
Requests for appointment of an elisor Other areas of law (bankruptcy, criminal, general civil,* evictions,* wills, trusts, tax, etc.)
Simple property division Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
Spousal support Service of legal papers in foreign countries
Stepparent adoptions (if the other biological parent consents, is deceased or has already had their parental rights terminated by a judge) Termination of parental rights
Voluntary Declarations of Parentage (VDOPs) Unsealing adoption records

*The Civil Self-Help Center helps with a variety of general civil matters, including debt collection, evictions, name and gender changes, non-family law restraining orders and small claims.



First-come, first-served help with forms for:

  • Temporary emergency orders
  • Response to a Summons
  • Continuance (delay) of a hearing or trial

Monday – Thursday

8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

At our office:
Civil & Family Law Courthouse

3055 Cleveland Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95403

No children allowed.

  1. Check in at the kiosk outside our door in the lobby, then take a seat.
  1. Listen and watch for your number to be called on the loudspeaker and displayed on the TV screen.


Get information, forms and instructions or have your forms reviewed by appointment.

Monday – Thursday

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

By phone or Zoom or

 at our office:

Civil & Family Law Courthouse

3055 Cleveland Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95403

No children allowed.



Ask brief questions about an open case through our e-mail portal.

Send us a message 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We will respond within 3 business days during our regular hours of operation.

On your smart phone, tablet or computer. CLICK HERE TO SEND US AN E-MAIL


Use a computer for 2 hours to fill out forms or type a declaration.

Limited help from staff may be available, but is not guaranteed.

Monday – Thursday

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

At our office:
Civil & Family Law Courthouse

3055 Cleveland Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95403

No children allowed.


If this is your first time filling out legal forms, you may find it helpful to read about the basics of court forms and using fillable forms before you get started.

You can download forms at the following web sites. Click on the links below:

  1. Sonoma County Forms Packets: The Sonoma County Superior Court provides forms packets that can be filled out by hand or on a computer. Each packet contains all of the forms you will need for a specific purpose, like starting a new divorce. Click on the link, scroll down to “Family Law Forms Packets” and select the appropriate packet from the list.
  2. Judicial Council Forms: The Judicial Council of California provides individual forms that can be filled out by hand or on a computer. Click on the link and search for forms by topic (e.g. “divorce”), form name (e.g. “Summons”) or form number (e.g. “FL-110”).
  3. Odyssey Guide & File: Odyssey Guide & File is a free online forms preparation program that asks you a series of questions and generates completed forms based on your answers. Click on the link and select the appropriate interview from the menu.

For help on how to file documents at the Family Law & Probate Clerk's office click here.

We have written instructions to help you complete and file most forms. Click on the links below:

Instructions to File a Request for Telephone Appearance

Instructions to File a Summary Dissolution of Marriage

Instructions to File and Serve a Petition

Instructions to File and Serve a Declaration of Disclosure

Instructions to File and Serve a Request for Order

Instructions to File and Serve a Request for Temporary Emergency Custody Orders

Instructions to File and Serve a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order

Instructions to File and Serve a Wage Assignment for Spousal Support

Instructions to File a Stipulation for Custody and Visitation

Instructions to File a Stipulation for Child Support

Reimbursement of Child Care Costs sheet

Reimbursement of Health Care Costs sheet

Sample Custody Declaration

Sample Support Declaration

Sample Profit and Loss Statement

Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit and Instructions

Pleading Paper Template

Remote family law legal assistance may be available to you through the following organizations:

Legal Aid of Sonoma County

  • If you are seeking general assistance: (707) 542-1290
  • If you are seeking a Domestic Violence Restraining Order: (707) 595-6295
  • If you are age 60 or older: (707) 340-5610
  • If you are experiencing homelessness: (707) 843-4432

Free Legal Services – Information, legal advice and assistance with applications for restraining orders. Assistance with other family law forms may be available to those who qualify.

Sonoma County Bar Association

(707) 546-5297
Lawyer Referral Services – For a $50 fee, you will receive a 30-minute consultation with an experienced attorney. There is no obligation to retain the attorney following that consultation, but if you choose to do so, the fee for representation is negotiated directly between you and that attorney.

Department of Child Support Services – Sonoma County

(866) 901-3212
Neutral assistance with establishing parentage and establishing and enforcing orders for child support.

Legal Document Assistants

A legal document assistant (“LDA”) is a non-lawyer authorized to assist with the preparation of legal forms and documents. LDAs can be found in the yellow pages or online and their fees vary. Note: Unlike a paralegal, LDAs do not work under the supervision of an attorney. LDAs are required to register with the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

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