Family Law Services

The Pro Bono Project has been providing family law services since its inception. We provide services to Santa Clara County community members who have cases in Santa Clara County in domestic violence, dissolution, separation, and parentage actions. The actions may involve custody, visitation, and child support. Services can include advice, referral to other resources, preparation of documents, help with filing, coaching on self representation, negotiation and settlement, limited scope representation, and full legal representation.

The Pro Bono Project can provide services through the following means: Family Law Clinics, Limited Scope or Full Representation, and Family Court Settlement Project.

The Family Law Clinic

The Family Law Clinic provides intake, holds pro per clinics, completes form and provides limited representation by our volunteers. We can provide legal advice on family issues, as well as referrals to local agencies that can help you.

Limited Scope or Full Representation

Some of the areas that we can provide limited scope or full representation include:

Divorce
We can help you file for a default divorce, or provide representation for a complex case that includes child custody, and visitation rights.

Parentage
The Pro Bono Project has a special Parentage Project. If the Department of Child Support Services has filed a parentage and child support action against an alleged parent who is indigent, the Project may provide services, including representation in court. Representation is for the person against whom the case has been brought (that is, the “respondent” or “defendant” in the case, not the “other parent”). Representation can be provided in cases where the issue of determination of parentage is involved. For example, the Project can assist indigent and/or incarcerated alleged fathers on the issue of parentage, in seeking to obtain genetic testing or to be established as a parent in a child support case, or, in certain, limited instances where possible, to pursue challenging a parentage determination (in a child support case) after it has been made.

The Parentage Project does not provide assistance to custodial parents or others with whom the child(ren) live(s). Custodial parents or others seeking services in connection with establishment, collection, or enforcement of child support, may benefit from contacting the Department of Child Support Services to request such services.

Domestic Violence
Pro Bono Project, through its Domestic Violence Project, provides representation in Domestic Violence Restraining order hearings. The hearings will make a determination on domestic violence and grant restraining orders if appropriate. The court can adjudicate temporary custody, visitation and support.

If you need assistance with representation in any of these matters, contact us or complete the Services Request Form.

Family Court Settlement Project

The Pro Bono Project, in partnership with Family Court has developed a pilot project designed to provide self-represented parties legal assistance with settlement on the day of court. Each party is provided an attorney to consult with followed by a 4-way discussion between the parties and their respective counsel in an effort to resolve the parenting issues on calendar for that day.

The process is based on the collaborative model, thus the attorneys take a non-adversarial approach and the discussions are interest based and facilitated by the attorneys rather than a more traditional adversarial negotiation.

Making a Difference

‘Many clients and other agencies say that the Pro Bono Project is the clients’ “last chance for any legal assistance.”‘
Philip Pennypacker, One of the Founders, Pro Bono Project

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