What do you need help with?
Self Help



San Benito Superior Court

Self Help Center


When:                 Every MONDAY, except court holidays

Hours:                 8 am - 1 pm

Where:                Location 450 Fourth Street, Hollister, CA 95023

First Come, First Serve - NO APPOINTMENTS

**You must bring your own interpreter


The San Benito Self Help Center can provide the following assistance:

  • Assistance with Small Claims, Guardianship (of the person), Name Change, Restraining Orders, Landlord/Tenant, and Civil (Contract cases only).

  •   Provide community and legal referrals.

  •  Review and distribution of court forms.

  •  How to use the internet to locate legal information and court forms.


Watsonville Self Help Center:

  • Santa Cruz Superior Court located at 1 Second Street, Room 301, Watsonville.

  •  Monday - Thursday 8:30-11:30 and 1:00-3:00, no appointments.

  •  Assistance with Family Law, Name Change, Restraining Orders, Guardianships, and Landlord/Tenant.  Small Claims, Civil, and Conservatorship assistance on specific days, go to www.santacruzcourt.org for more information.

  • There is also a self help resource library and computers for legal research.  

  •  If you have questions before you visit please call (831)786-7200, push 4. 

  •  Small claims question call the Small Claims Advisor at (831)786-7370.


You may also call or e-mail the San Benito Self Help Center if you have questions.

 It may take up to one week to return calls and e-mails

Call: (831) 636-4057 X104

E-mail: selfhelp.information@santacruzcourt.org

When you call or e-mail please note what county you live in



The Self Help Center does not provide legal advice or legal representation.  Many legal issues are complicated and you may need to consult an attorney to find out how to best handle your legal situation.  The Self Help Center can give you information on how to find an attorney.


For Self Help FAMILY LAW assistance in San Benito (including child support, custody/visitation, divorce, and paternity) please call the Family Law Facilitator's Office for hours of operation, phone (831) 636-4057 X823.



Necesita ayuda con un caso en la corte or problema legal?   Va a la sita central de las cortes y puede leer y apprendar mucho que esta escrita en espanol http://www.sucorte.ca.gov



Are you looking for a form?  


California Courts Online Self-Help Center

This Web site will help you find assistance and information, work better with an attorney, and represent yourself in some legal matters.

Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California
Este sitio Web le ayudará a encontrar ayuda e información, trabajar mejor con un abogado y en algunos asuntos legales le ayudará a representarse a sí mismo.

I-CAN! I-CAN is an interactive program that will help you fill our the forms necessary to request or respond to papers for a variety of legal issues.


Domestic Violence

Need a restraining order for domestic violence?  http://www.sanbenito.courts.ca.gov/domestic_violence.htm

Court Based Self Help

Every Monday there is a self help attorney available to assist the public from 8 pm to 1 pm at 450 Fourth St., Hollister across from the courthouse.  This assistant is available to walk-ins, on a first come first serve basis, with no appointments available.  You must bring your own interpreter with you.  The self help attorney can not speak to you if you are represented by an attorney on the matter you need help with.  There is also no representation or legal advice provided.  Depending on the needs of the self represented customer services may differ and can include referrals to other agencies, information on how to find an attorney, direction on how to obtain the court forms and assistance with filling out court forms. If you have questions you may call and leave a message at 831-636-4057 X104 or e-mail selfhelp.information@santacruzcourt.org.  Phone calls and e-mails will be returned once a week.  Do not leave a message if it is an emergency.  If you need help with a family matter please click on the link below for Family Law Facilitator.


Come Prepared to the Self Help Center

What is the Self Help Center?

The Self Help Center helps people who need legal information but do not have lawyers.  The Center can give you information, court forms, and help you understand your legal options.  We cannot represent you and in most cases you will be required to fill out your own court forms with our guidance.  We only help with very simple legal situations, often we may need to refer you to a private attorney or to the law library for you to do your own legal research.  We help many people each day therefore we usually spend less than 30 minutes with each person and there can be a long wait.  We are not responsible for the outcome of your case.  Conversations with the Self Help Center are not confidential, we do assist parties on both sides of the case, and we cannot assist you if you are currently represented by an attorney.

Come Prepared

When you arrive: When you arrive please sign in and you will be called in the order of arrival.  Depending on how many people need assistance the signup sheet may fill up before the end of the stated hours of operation.  We apologize for this, but we do not know how many people will need help on any given day.


Be prepared to wait:  The wait may be several hours after you check in.  You may also need to return for multiple visits depending on your legal issue.


Cost for Services:  There is no cost for the services of the Self Help Center but you may have to pay for copies and court filing fees at the clerk's office.


How do I hire an attorney?  The Self Help Center cannot represent you or give the name of any specific attorneys.  We can give you community resources to assist you in finding your own attorney. 


What should I bring to Self Help Center?  Try to bring a copy of your entire court file (including all of your court case numbers) and any documents that support your legal issue.  Also bring a pen, stamps, blank envelopes, and something to keep you busy while you wait.  Please keep all cell phones turned off.


What if I don't speak English well?  We cannot guarantee an interpreter.  Please bring your own interpreter and someone to help you fill out your court forms in English.


Come in person:  Your case is most important to you and you have the most knowledge about your case.  We cannot assist you if you send a family member or friend in your place.


Children:  If at all possible do not bring children with you.  Your children are very valuable.  The waiting time can be hard on them and you can be distracted by their needs.  It is not in your children's best interest to be present when you are talking about your legal problems.


What if I just want a legal form?  You can download any state court form at www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.


Program Changes/Office Closure:  Due to our small staff there can be unexpected office closures.  In San Benito occasionally there will be Monday closures for court holidays and staff vacation.  If you are concerned we may not be open please call first (831) 636-4057. In Watsonville the Center is closed the third Tuesday afternoon of the month. Please check our web site at www.santacruzcourt.org for our monthly calendar. We apologize for any inconvenience.



Family Law Facilitator

For help with the Family Law Facilitator please click on the link above.


Need some help with researching an issue?  San Benito has a law library with some useful books and the public can use the law library from 8:30-4 p.m. by going to 440 5th Street, Room 206 (County Clerks Office); however, there is no staff. There is an on-line program also, not connected with our court, that might assist you. http://www.247ref.org/portal/access_law3.cfm


Links to other Law Library's:


Santa Clara Law Library

Santa Cruz Law Library

Monterey Law Library


Filing Fees

Need to know what the filing fees are for your case?  http://www.sanbenito.courts.ca.gov/filing_fees.htm