Q: Where can I go to get help getting restraining orders and a divorce when I can't afford to pay a lawyer?
I don't have any money. I need to get out of this relationship. I don't know where to start. I live in California.
A: Man, that is a tough one in these times. Most courts have a free service often known as the Family Law Facilitator, which is where I would normally suggest you go. But so many of the courthouses are closed and so probably are the facilitators' offices. You might check with your local court just in case.
There are not normally many pro bono services available. You might look into a document preparer, but they cannot give you legal advice and will charge for their services. Plus the last two options may be operating under a stay-at-home policy which would make it difficult to meet with them.
I think you are just stuck in a bad time and hope it gets better for you. Even if you could afford an attorney you might have problems getting an in office appointment with one.
A: If you’re not safe, you should not hesitate to call the police. They can issue an EPO (emergency protective order) and can arrest the abusive party. The problem is with happens next? You have to learn how to represent yourself and apply for Domestic Violence protective orders. The courts in CA have limited hours during Shelter in Place but the one thing they are still dealing with is DV cases. Go to FreeDivorce.com and watch Videos #66 - 72 as they will teach you how to apply for DV orders, what to do at the hearing, and how to serve the other party with the paperwork. If a divorce will follow this DV filing, FreeDivorce.com has all you need to handle that on your own as well.
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