Do you need an attorney? Like any good attorney will tell you the answer is “maybe” or “it depends.” First, there are certain entities that must be represented by an attorney before the Court. Examples would be Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Trusts, and other similar entities. However, in most situations an individual is free to represent themselves before the Court.

SMALL CLAIMS – Disputes less than $10,000.00

If the dispute is small you can utilize “small claims” Court. Generally, you can seek damages of $10,000 or less in small claims Court. To make small claims court even more enticing, attorney are barred from representing clients within small claims court. The Riverside Superior Court provides assistance through the Small Claims Advisory program via the Self-Help Center. The Small Claims Advisors can help you with procedural matters for Small Claims free of charge. The advisor is a paralegal who is available to assist with small claims issues and procedures from filing through enforcement. They are unable to give you legal advice. There are many different ways to contact the Small Claims Advisor: Phone: (951)274-4499 or (760)393-2163 Email: SmallClaimsAdvisory@Riverside.Courts.CA.Gov

FAMILY LAW

If your dispute involves the family law Court there are multiple resources that are free or low cost legal clinic and assistance programs. In Riverside County Family Law Facilitators are attorneys with experience in family law matters and who provide free assistance to unrepresented litigants regarding petitions, responses, Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) questions, child and spousal support calculations, motions, and general family law questions. Facilitators can help you in preparing your forms and can give you general information, but they cannot go with you to court.
 
The Family Law Facilitator is not your lawyer, but a neutral person who does not represent any party.  There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Facilitator.  Communications between you and the Facilitator are not confidential.  You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized legal advice or strategy, have a confidential conversation, or be represented by an attorney in court. 

Facilitators are available to meet with litigants on a first come, first served basis, during regular hours at various courthouses throughout Riverside County. If you are beginning a family law case you will be required to attend a workshop before meeting individually with a Facilitator.

BANKRUPTCY

Menifee and the surrounding area is located within the Central District of the Federal Courts. The Central District has a strong “self-help” program. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and do not have any assets, the self-help program may be worth considering if you are up for challenge of representing yourself.

You can find out more information at https://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/filing-without-an-attorney

OTHER LEGAL AID SERVICES:

Inland County Legal Services; (888) 245-4257

Inland Empire Latino Lawyer Association (951)369-3009

Most legal aid services limit their service to low-income clients.

OTHER CIVIL MATTERS

As most things in life, there are pros and cons with representing yourself. If there little risk, such a small amount of money at issue, an amicable divorce without minor children or retirement accounts, a bankruptcy client with no assets the risk of representing yourself is minimal. On the other hand, the larger the risk the greater need for professional assistance.

IF YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY

In the event that you require an attorney, remember attorneys are people with different personalities. You should interview the attorney you are considering to ensure that your personalities match. While selecting an attorney keep the following questions in mind: Do they maintain an office that you can visit during business hours? Do they have a support staff? What are the fees? Have they handled your type of matter before? How any years have they practiced? Lastly, the most important question – Do you think they will advocate for you in an ethical and zealous manner and tell you the truth?

Jeremiah Raxter, Esq

27851 Bradley Rd, Ste 145

Menifee, Ca 92586

951-226-5294

www.raxterlaw.com

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