Hennepin County Self-Help Center

Schedule a Zoom appointment
(651) 478-8757

General InformationThe Hennepin County District Court Self-Help Centers offer services to people who are representing themselves in court.  The Hennepin County Self-Help Centers include the Family Justice Center Self-Help Center and Government Center Self-Help Center.  See the Locations & Hours tab for more information. 
 
The mission and vision of the Hennepin County District Court Self-Help Centers is to help self-represented litigants to handle their court case independently by providing clear and consistent resources to increase fair, timely, and neutral access to justice.
 
Services include:
  • One-on-one help with court procedures
  • One-on-one review of completed court forms
  • Court forms and written instructions (some fees may apply)
  • Brief legal advice from volunteer attorneys (when walk-in services are available)
  • Referrals to community resources and legal services
  • Help available in other languages either through bilingual staff or use of Language Line, a telephone-based language service.
The Self-Help Centers provide services in a few different ways, including phone, email, virtual appointments (i.e. Zoom meetings), in-person appointments, and walk-in services.  
 
Phone – Contact us at the phone numbers listed on the Locations and Hours tab.  Phone numbers are included for both the Family Justice Center and Government Center locations. 
 
Email – Use the Contact Us form to send us your questions or forms to be reviewed by e-mail.  We are generally able to respond to all emails within 1-3 business days.
 
Appointments (in-person or via Zoom) – Use the Contact Us form to request an appointment (in-person or via Zoom) with staff.  You can request an appointment for questions or form reviews. Note that in-person appointments may be limited at this time. 
 
Walk-in Services – Visit a location in-person.  Services are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  See the Locations and Hours tab for address information and hours of service.  
 
IMPORTANT: Self-Help Center staff are court employees. Court employees cannot give legal advice or do legal research for customers. There is no attorney-client privilege or confidentiality of any information between you and the staff at a Self-Help Center. Staff must remain neutral and may give services to other people involved with your legal problem. Self-Help staff are not responsible for the outcome of your case. Please read What Court Staff Can and Cannot Do for You.
 
Government Center Self-Help Center
  • Get help with criminal expungement, Harassment Restraining Orders (HROs), name changes, civil lawsuits, creditor/debtor issues, and other civil legal matters.
Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th Street
Skyway level – just past A-Tower weapon screening
Minneapolis, MN 55487-0421
651-478-8757
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed holidays)
Map 
 
Family Court Self-Help Center
  • Get help with common family law issues such as divorce, child custody, parenting time, and child support.
Family Justice Center
110 South 4th Street
1st Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55401
651-478-8757
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed holidays)
Map
 
NOTE: You can get help with domestic abuse and Orders for Protection at the Domestic Abuse Service Center.
 
  • You are encouraged to review the Help Topics on this website before contacting the Self-Help Centers. The Help Topics offer lots of information on common legal topics and links to court forms, including 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 contacting Self-Help Center staff.
  • Walk-in services are available on a first-come, first-served basis during regular business hours.  You should be prepared to wait if the Self-Help Centers are busy. Be aware that some services may require an appointment.
  • If visiting a Self-Help Center in person, please arrange for child care, if possible. The 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 distraction.  Keep that in mind if contacting staff by phone or through a virtual appointment as well.
  • Expect to spend some time on your legal issues, both on your own and when working with Self-Help Center staff.
  • If visiting a Self-Help Center in person, bring your checkbook, cash, or credit card. Walk-in services are free at the Self-Help Centers, but there may be fees in your case.  For example, criminal history printouts, subpoenas, and filing costs.
  • Appointments can often last more than an hour, so please plan ahead for child care, if you need to take time off of work, etc.  If visiting a Self-Help Center in person, please also allow extra time for traffic, parking, and going through weapons screening to avoid being late for your appointment, if possible.
Your forms MUST be screened by Self-Help Center staff if:
  • Your case is filed in Hennepin County Family Court; and
  • You are not represented by an attorney.
EXCEPTION: Screening is not required for child support motions where the County Child Support Office is involved in the case.  These are called Expedited Process or “Ex Pro” cases.  Screening is also not required for forms to start a divorce.
 
  • Your forms must be screened before a hearing date will be scheduled in your case.
  • The screening process is to ensure that you are using the correct forms. 
  • 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 do I get my forms screened? 
Steps to get your court forms screened:
  • Get the paperwork that you plan to file with the court and fill it out to the best of your ability.
    • If you have questions as you are filling out the forms, write them down and they will be answered during the screening or you can call the Family Court Self-Help Center at (651) 478-8757.
  • Get a copy of the latest court order(s) on your case, including any court orders that you want to change or enforce.
  • If you are responding to paperwork served on you, make sure you have all the papers you received from the other party(ies).
  • Send an email to 4thshcweb@courts.state.mn.us or call the Family Court Self-Help Center at 651-478-8757 (during business hours).  Staff can generally respond to emails within 1-3 business days. For phone calls, you may asked to leave a voicemail.  Voicemails are checked daily and returned as soon as possible during business hours.

Volunteer lawyers give brief, free legal advice at several locations in the Hennepin County Court, including the Self-Help Centers, Conciliation Court, Housing Court, and the Courthouse at Brookdale. Use of these advice clinics is generally limited to people who live in Hennepin County or have a court case in Hennepin County. Some clinic services are also limited to people whose income is within a certain range of the Federal Poverty GuidelinesAll clinics are first-come, first served.

Please be aware that all Hennepin County District Court in-person legal advice clinics are canceled until further notice.  All Volunteer Lawyer's Network (VLN) clinics located at Hennepin County District Court locations have been changed from in-person to telephone-based services.  Call 612-752-6677 for more information.


Legal Access Point (LAP) Clinic at the Government Center

Sign up for all clinic times starts at 8:00 a.m.
  General public: Free legal consults are available on most legal topics. No income limit applies.
  Hours: Monday - Friday:  9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Monday:  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
____________________________________
  People with low income: Free legal consults for people with low income on most legal topics, except family law and criminal law.
  Hours: Monday - Friday:  11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday:  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. (criminal expungement issues only)
  Location: 4th District Court Self-Help Center
Hennepin County Govt. Center
300 S. 6th St., skyway level
Minneapolis, MN 55487 map
 
    Check the Legal Access Point Clinic Calendar to see legal topics handled by volunteer attorneys each day. Attorneys listed as “General” on the Calendar do not give family law or criminal law advice. NOTE: The advice clinic attorneys are volunteers. Their schedules are subject to changes or cancellations without notice. Call (612) 752-6666 if you want to confirm that an attorney will be at the advice clinic on a particular day.

Legal Access Point (LAP) Clinic at the Brookdale Courthouse

  General public: Free legal consults are available on any legal topic. No income limit applies.
  Hours: 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. Monday only (usually once each month). Please call (612) 752-6666 to confirm when an attorney is scheduled to be at the clinic.
  Location: 4th District Court
Division 2 - Brookdale
6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy., 1st floor
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 map

Free on-site parking is available at the Brookdale Courthouse.

Conciliation Court Clinic

  People with low income: Free legal consults are available on Conciliation Court matters (generally, for claims up to $15,000). You must be screened for income eligibility to use the clinic.
  Hours: Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Thursday:  9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  Location: Minneapolis City Hall
350 South 5th Street
Room #312
Minneapolis, MN 55415 map

Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic

  People with low income: Free legal consults are available for people who want to appeal (remove) a conciliation court judgment to district court. You must be screened for income eligibility to use the clinic.
  Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month
  Location: Minneapolis City Hall
350 South 5th Street
Room #312
Minneapolis, MN 55415 map

Family Court Clinic


Sign up for all clinics starts at 8:00 a.m.
Volunteer attorneys sometimes cancel, so call (612) 752-6677 if you want to confirm that an attorney is scheduled.

  People with low income: Free legal consults for people with low income (up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines) on family law topics only.
  Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday:  10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
No clinic on Wednesdays
    Sign-up for the advice clinic starts at 8:00 a.m. at the Family Court Self-Help Center on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of openings is very limited.
  Location: Family Justice Center
110 S. 4th St., 1st floor
Minneapolis, MN 55401 map
    Family Law Advice by Phone
Low-income people who live in Hennepin County can get a free 20-minute legal advice consult on family law matters from the Volunteer Lawyers Network. To schedule a consult, please call the VLN Intake Line at (612) 752-6677 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.
    MN Family Law Clinic Calendar
See dates, times and locations of family law advice clinics offered throughout Minnesota.

Housing Court Project

  People with low income: To use the clinic, a tenant must have low income and live in Hennepin County.

To use the clinic, a landlord must have low income and live in the rental property located in Hennepin County. The property title must be recorded in the landlord's name, not as a business.
  Hours: Monday: 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (tenants only)
    Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Thursday: 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (tenants only)
    Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  Location: 4th District Housing Court
Hennepin County Govt. Center
300 S. 6th St., 3rd floor in C-tower
Minneapolis, MN 55487 map