If you are going to have a document preparation service or paralegal help you with your divorce, keep in mind that a person may not practice law in California unless they are an active member of the California State Bar. Practicing law—or just representing oneself as a lawyer—without an active bar membership or other authorization can also lead to serious criminal penalties in California. Ask yourself, would you have an unlicensed doctor examine you, prescribe you medication, or surgically remove your appendix? There are reasons why practicing law without license is illegal. Most of those start with protecting consumers. If you are hiring a paralegal to help you with filling out forms and only procedure, just remember that an experienced family law paralegal can be helpful, but legal advice from a paralegal is ill-advised and illegal.
Self-Help Centers and Legal Aid
If you cannot afford an attorney, you can find good sources of information on the internet. You can also use the court’s Self-Help Center on the first floor at Lamoreaux Justice Center – get more information on the court’s website. They will help you with all the procedural aspects for your divorce. You may also want to call the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.