The Hennepin County District Court has two walk-in Self-Help Centers
that offer services to people who are representing themselves in court (see Locations & Hours tab). Some services are also available at Conciliation Court
, Housing Court
, and the Domestic Abuse Service Center
. The public may also visit the Hennepin County Law Library
to find "do-it-yourself"
legal materials and get help with legal research. NOTE:
This website is not a substitute for legal advice. Talk with a lawyer
if you need advice.
Please be aware that walk-in services are unavailable at this time. Customers are encouraged to call or email the Statewide Self-Help Center
The Self-Help Centers have computers with access to online resources such as tools to fill out court forms, "how-to" videos, and tutorials that are available on a first-come first-served basis. Other services include:
- Court forms and written instructions (some fees may apply)
- Brief legal advice from volunteer attorneys
- One-on-one help to learn court procedures
- One-on-one review of your court forms
- Referrals to community resources and legal services
- Staff speak English, Somali, Spanish and American Sign Language
See What Court Staff Can & Cannot Do
Tips on Using the Self-Help Centers
- Visit the Help Topics on the MN Courts website before you come to the courthouse. That website offers lots of information on common legal topics as well as online tools to fill out court forms, "how to" videos, and tutorials. You may be able to handle your legal matter or find answers to your questions without going to the courthouse.
- Please arrange for child care. The walk-in Self-Help Centers do NOT have a play area or toys for children. You and other customers will need to be able to focus on legal issues without distractions.
- Expect to spend some time on your legal issues, both on your own as well as at the Self-Help Center. You may have to return to the Self-Help Center several times to complete the steps in your case.
- Bring your checkbook or cash. Walk-in services are free at the Self-Help Center, but there may be a fee for certain things in your case. Example: criminal history printouts, subpoenas, forms, and filing.
Mandatory Forms Screening
If your case is filed in Hennepin County Family Court and you are not represented by an attorney, then your forms must be screened by the Family Justice Center Self-Help Center before a hearing date will be set. (Exception: Screening is not required for "ex pro" child support motions where the County Child Support Office is involved in the case.) The screening process does not mean that the judge or referee will automatically grant your requests. The case will be decided based on the law, the evidence, and the legal arguments of all of the parties involved in the case.
How to Get Court Forms Screened
Get these papers together:
- The forms you plan to file with the court. These must be filled out to the best of your ability. If you have questions that keep you from finishing the forms, please call the Family Court Self-Help Center at (612) 596-8519.
- A copy of the latest court order(s) that you want to change or enforce through your motion.
- If you are responding to a motion served on you, all the papers you received from the other person.
If you have forms that need to be reviewed by the Family Court Self-Help Center while our walk-in location is closed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 596-8519 and leave a voicemail with your contact information. Staff will respond to emails within 1-3 business days.
Q: How can the Family Justice Center Self-Help Center help me?
The staff will sit with you and explain any problems with your completed forms and answer your questions, but cannot give you legal advice. The next steps in the process will be explained. If you are having trouble with the forms, do not understand the written instructions you received, or if the forms do not seem to fit your situation, a facilitator can help you work through your papers.
Q: Do I need an appointment or can I get help on a walk-in basis?
A lot of people use the Self-Help Center, so you are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment to have your forms reviewed rather than try to do it on a walk-in basis. Appointments are usually available from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.
If your case involves third party custody, then you MUST schedule an appointment. These cases are complicated and generally cannot be reviewed on a walk-in basis. If your case involves other family law disputes, court staff may be available to help you on a walk-in basis, but you may have to wait quite a while to speak with someone.
NOTE: Appointments can often last more than an hour, so please plan ahead for parking, child care, or if you need to take time off of work. Allow extra time for traffic and parking so you are not late for your appointment. We only hold appointments for 10 minutes.