October 24, 2021

Self Help Center


The Self-Help Center offers free help to people who are representing themselves in Court in a variety of legal matters. Trained, knowledgeable staff can help you find and fill out Court forms, answer questions on how you can proceed in your case, help you understand the Court process, and refer you to other resources to save time and reduce frustration.

Our services include help with the following:


Child Custody
Child Support
Spousal Support


Domestic Violence & Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
Elder Abuse
Names/Gender Change

Small Claims
Debt Collection
Court Procedures

Assistance is provided daily on a walk-in first-come, first-served basis and limited assistance is available by email, except in confidential cases such as adoptions, paternity actions and those cases involving the Department of Child Support Services.

Office Hours:

Due to continuing Covid19 precautions, assistance is available by telephone appointment, by email or via LiveChat.



The Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus
800 11th Street, Room 220
Modesto, California

Email: Self.Help@StanCt.org

*For the most effective assistance by email, please provide your full name, telephone number and case number (if you have one), along with a brief description of your problem. Responses can be expected within 3-4 business days. We appreciate your patience.

The Self-Help Center staff offer assistance to help you in each phase of your case in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Help you select the proper legal forms based on what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Help you prepare paperwork to begin dissolution (divorce), legal separation or annulment, step-parent adoption or domestic violence restraining orders.
  • Assist you to prepare motions and/or orders to show cause and responses for custody and visitation, child support, spousal support and limited property issues.
  • Provide information and prepare draft calculations of support amounts based on statutory guidelines.
  • Review documents for completeness and instruction of how to file and serve the documents.
  • Instruction on what to expect and how to be prepare for a Court hearing.
  • Hold daily clinics in a classroom style setting to help you complete legal forms in all types of legal matters (not just family law).
  • Give you legal information and "How To" instructions in easy to understand language.
  • Referrals to other free self-help services (such as mediation) that can help resolve your case without having to go to Court.
  • Give you information about other free services and agencies that can help you help yourself.

Other Helpful Resources:

For basic definitions of legal terms and a detailed explanation of each type of family law action, click here.

For additional information or assistance with collecting or enforcing child support, please contact the Stanislaus County Department of Child Support Services at (866)901-3212. Click here to visit their website.

For calculating your own child support or spousal support, click here.

For access to the California Courts online Self-Help Center for Libraries, Websites, Self-Help Legal Books and Judicial Counsel Forms in English, click here.

For access to the California Courts online Self-Help Center for Libraries, Websites, Self-Help Legal Books and Judicial Counsel Forms in Spanish, click here.


The Self-Help Center is available to help both parents and all other parties who have questions about family law and guardianship cases. The Self-Help Center can help you in preparing your own forms and can give you general information. The Self-Help Center staff cannot go with you to Court.

The Self-Help Center staff members DO NOT ACT AS YOUR LAWYER, but as a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Self-Help Center staff.

The Self-Help Center may provide information and services to the other party in your case.

Communications between you and the Self-Help Center staff are not confidential. You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation or to be represented by an attorney in Court.

The Self-Help Center is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

Last updated: September 08, 2021 8:20 AM