San Benito Superior Court Self-Help Center
Please note that due to the current complexity of Landlord Tenant law we are providing limited assistance.
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 with understanding 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 15 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.
You must bring your own interpreter if needed
The Self-Help Center location can provide the following assistance:
- Assistance with Small Claims, Guardianship (of the person), Limited Conservatorship, Name Change/Gender Change, Restraining Orders, Emancipation, and Civil/Collections (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.
- Small Claims Advisor Phone Line: (831) 636-4057 x 104.
- Messages can be left at anytime. Calls are returned within a week.
- For FAMILY LAW assistance in San Benito County, including child support, custody/visitation, divorce and paternity, please see the Family Law Facilitator’s Office. You may call (831) 636-4057 or come to the courthouse for information regarding their hours and program.
How to come Prepared
Please read the following information so that you can have the best possible experience at the Self Help Center.
When you arrive please sign in and you will be called in the order your intake form is turned in. Depending on how many people need assistance, the sign in 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.
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.
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.
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.
You need to bring your own interpreter to help you fill out your court forms in English. We do not have interpreters.
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 are not allowed at the Self Help Center. 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.
You can download any state court form at www.courts.ca.gov/forms
Due to our small staff, there can be unexpected office closures. In San Benito County, 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.
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.