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Court: Hours to expand

Fresno County Superior Court’s Self-Help Service Center will be increasing its hours and outreach efforts after Jan. 1.

FRESNO – Thanks to an additional $400,000 in funding from the Governor’s 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, the Fresno County Superior Court will be able to expand their hours at its Self-Help Service Center in Downtown Fresno.

This department assists with such matters as adoption, termination of parental rights, marital dissolution/legal separation/nullity, child custody, support and protective orders in domestic violence and elder abuse cases. Assistance with civil harassment restraining orders, small claims, unlawful detainers, emancipation and name change is also available through a contract with the Better Business Bureau.

More staff will also be hired to both allow for more contact with outlying communities as well as to increase assistance across a broader spectrum of subjects including probate matters.

Starting Jan. 1, the Self-Help Service Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff will be available to answer general questions during those times. Resources permitting, additional staff will be available to review documents on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Center is located at 1130 O St., First Floor, Fresno. The Self-Help Service Center phone number is 457-2100 or toll-free at 1-866-665-2345 within Fresno County.

The Self-Help Center was established more than two decades ago in an effort to increase access to justice and assistance to the public by providing comprehensive services, at little or no cost, to self-represented litigants in Fresno County. The assistance provided is primarily in family law, but other services will also be available for civil and small claims matters.

In 2012, the office hours were reduced to four days a week because of a statewide budget crisis and the resulting staff shortages. Despite those reduced hours, court staff still provided services to more than 2,000 self-represented litigants per month.

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