NOTICE: .

AVISO: .
NOTICE FROM THE FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR'S OFFICE:

The LiveChat schedule will be modified on the following dates:

  • From August 2nd to August 6th, 2021, LiveChat will only be available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
NEW! We are now available on LiveChat. See below for more information.
NOTICE: Effective 4/6/2020, the Family Law Facilitator's Office will not be providing in-person services at any location until further notice. Please click here for information on how to access services remotely during this time: Facilitator's Office Temporary Remote Services Flyer
AVISO: A partir del 6 de abril de 2020, la oficina de los facilitadores de la ley de familia no proporcionará servicios en persona en ningún lugar hasta nuevo aviso. Haga clic aquí para obtener información sobre cómo acceder a los servicios de forma remota durante este tiempo: Facilitator's Office Temporary Remote Services Flyer (Spanish)

General Information

The Family Law Facilitator's Office offers assistance with the completion of legal forms and provides procedural guidance in most areas of Family Law, including: child support, spousal support, child custody, visitation, dissolution, legal separation, nullity, and establishment of parentage.

Office of the Family Law Facilitator Disclosure

  • The Family Law Facilitator is available to help both parties with questions about family law issues, including child support, spousal support, health insurance, and the availability of community resources to help families. The Family Law Facilitator can help you in preparing your own forms and can give you general information. The Family Law Facilitator cannot go with you to court.
  • The Family Law Facilitator IS NOT YOUR LAWYER, but is a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Family Law Facilitator.
  • The Family Law Facilitator can provide legal assistance and procedural information to help you represent yourself but cannot give legal advice. Legal advice includes, but is not limited to, help with legal research, personalized strategy, and interpreting your court orders.
  • The Family Law Facilitator may provide information and services to the other party in your case.
  • Communications between you and the Family Law Facilitator are not confidential. You should consult your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation, or to be represented by an attorney in court.
  • The Family Law Facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

How can I get help with my family law case?

You can now get assistance from the Family Law Facilitator's Office on LiveChat or in person at our Martinez location.

LIVECHAT HOURS

You can chat with a staff member from the Family Law Facilitator's Office through the LiveChat application on this webpage. You can access LiveChat on any device with an internet browser: a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Please also make sure that you are connected to a strong, reliable internet connection.

Holiday LiveChat Hours:

  • Thursday, 12/24/2020: LiveChat will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. only.
  • Thursday, 12/31/2020: LiveChat will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. only.
MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

NOTICE: Our office may close the chat queue earlier than 12:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. if the queue is at capacity. Please check the "LiveChat Hours" to see when we will be open again.

DROP-IN ASSISTANCE

We are open for drop-in assistance in the lobby of our Martinez location only. We are located in the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law building at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Please see below for the days and times that we will be open for assistance.

TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY
Opens at 8:00 am Opens at 8:00 am Opens at 8:00 am

Please keep in mind that there are a limited number of spots available each day for drop-in assistance and these slots are usually filled by 8:30 a.m. If we have reached capacity for the morning, we will close our queue in order to finish assisting customers already in the queue.

If all spots are filled for the morning, we encourage you to contact us on LiveChat.

Important Information

If you are coming for drop-in assistance, please read the following:

  • Bring a blue or black pen. (The court is not providing pens at this time.)
  • Bring previously filed court documents, especially any court orders.
  • If you are currently working on forms, please bring those forms with you.
  • If you are working on support issues, bring your proof of income. Examples of proof of income include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Two months of paystubs;
    • EDD statements for unemployment or disability benefits;
    • Social security statements for retirement benefits or disability benefits;
    • Or, a Schedule C from your most recent tax return or a profit/loss statement, if you are self-employed.
  • Bring a photo ID. There may be times when court staff will need to see a photo ID in order to complete their task or function.
  • If you cannot speak or read English well, please bring someone to help interpret for you. We have bilingual staff but we cannot guarantee that they will be available at the time you visit our office.
  • Please do not bring children. The Children's Waiting Room is currently closed and it can be difficult for you to complete your court business while also keeping an eye on your children. If you do not have childcare available, we can assist with most issues through our LiveChat function.

TELEPHONE

The phone line is not answered live at this time. Please leave a voicemail with the following information: Your name, the name of the other party, your case number (if you have one), a brief description of your issue, and your contact information. A staff member will contact you as soon as possible. Response times may vary due to the volume of emails or voicemails received.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please read below for some frequently asked questions ("FAQs"). If you are still confused, please contact us on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours for further assistance. Please see above for more information about our services.

To start, you will need to fill out the application packet(s).

  • You can pick up pre-printed packets from the Family Law Building, located at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., except for court holidays.
  • Forms can be downloaded from the court's website at www.cc-courts.org. Go to "General Information" and click on "Forms." Click on "Forms Packets" and go to "Domestic Violence Restraining Order Packets & Forms."
    • Packet A is mandatory and must be completed by everyone. You must complete Packet B if you have minor children with the other party.
  • Pre-printed Domestic Violence Restraining Order packets are available at Contra Costa County Family Justice Centers, www.cocofamilyjustice.org. For hours of operation, please call the respective center: Richmond (510) 974-7200; Concord (925) 521-6366; Antioch (925) 281-0970.
  • Try using a free, online forms preparation program like Odyssey Guide & File, located here: https://california.tylerhost.net/SRL.
  • Please understand that the Family Law Facilitator's Office does not provide assistance with completing the forms for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If you need help with filling out the forms, please contact STAND! at 1-888-215-5555 to make an appointment for Bay Area Legal Aid's remote restraining order clinic.
Additional rules for turning in your "Request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order" forms are found on the court's website at: Family Law Emergency Local Rules.
The clerk's offices are open for filing. You can submit your forms in person, through the drop box, or by mail.

In Person

The clerk's office is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., except for court holidays, and is located at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553.

  • Be sure to bring in the original of your document(s), at least two copies, plus any applicable filing fee or fee waiver application.

Drop Box

The drop box is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is located in front of the Spinetta Family Law building at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553.

  • Be sure to include the original of your document(s), at least two copies, any applicable filing fee or fee waiver application, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope with appropriate postage for the court to return your filed documents to you.
  • If you need envelopes or postage, there is a post office located nearby, at: 815 Court Street, Martinez, CA 94553.

Mailing

Mail the original of your document(s), at least two copies, any applicable filing fee or fee waiver application, and a self-addressed stamped envelope with appropriate postage for the court to return your filed documents to you. You can mail your documents to:

Contra Costa County Superior Court
751 Pine Street
P.O. Box 911
Martinez, CA 94553
Attn: Clerk's Office

Restraining Order Packets

  • Pre-printed Domestic Violence Restraining Order packets are available at the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Building located at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553. You can pick up packets Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., except for court holidays.
  • Pre-printed Domestic Violence Restraining Order packets are also available at Contra Costa County Family Justice Centers, www.cocofamilyjustice.org." For hours of operation, please call the respective center: Richmond (510) 974-7200; Concord (925) 521-6366; Antioch (925) 281-0970
  • Forms can also be downloaded from the court's website at www.cc-courts.org. Go to "General Information" and click on "Forms." Click on "Forms Packets" and go to "Domestic Violence Restraining Order Packets & Forms."
    • Packet A is mandatory and must be completed by everyone. You must complete Packet B if you have minor children with the other party.
  • Or, you can try using a free, online forms preparation program like Odyssey Guide & File, located here: https://california.tylerhost.net/SRL.

For all other forms, please see the information below:

Download:

  • You can download forms and forms packets from the court's website at www.cc-courts.org. Go to "General Information" and click on "Forms."
  • If you do not see the form that you need, you can also download forms at the Judicial Council website at www.courts.ca.gov. Click on "Forms & Rules." From the pull-down menu, choose "Find Your Court Forms."

Pre-printed Forms and Packets:

You can purchase pre-printed forms and packets from the Contra Costa County Law Library. Please call ahead at (925) 646-2783 to make arrangements with the librarians. The Law Library is located at 1020 Ward Street, Martinez, CA 94553

The Court Records Unit is open. For more information, click here to visit their webpage: https://www.cc-courts.org/locations/records.aspx.
The Law Library is open on a limited basis. The Law Librarians are helping customers by phone, by email, and by appointment. For more information, call the Law Library at (925) 646-2783 or visit their website for updates on their services: http://www.cccpllib.org/.
Yes, you will still be required to attend a mediation appointment. However, mediations are now happening remotely, either by Zoom or by phone. If you have updated contact information or questions about your mediation appointment, please call Family Court Services at (925) 608-2065. The phone line is available Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
You can find information about mediation and the online orientation on the Family Court Services webpage: Contra Costa Superior Court Family Court Services. If you still have questions, please call (925) 608-2065. The phone line is available Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The current custody/visitation orders you have are still in effect and should be followed, although you may have to make adjustments. Section #6 of the "Emergency Local Rules: Family Law (Fifth Amended)" includes guidelines for how to make visitation work with the pandemic restrictions. For example, changes may need to be made as to exchange locations or visitation locations. The Emergency Local Rules can be found on the court's website here: Family Law Emergency Local Rules.
If you have an agreement, you and the other parent can complete a stipulation and submit it for a judge's signature. If you and the other parent do not have an agreement, you will need to file papers to set a court date. For help, please contact the Family Law Facilitator's Office on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours. See above for information on these services.
If you and the other parent have an agreement, you and the other parent can complete a stipulation and submit it for a judge's signature. If the Department of Child Support Services is involved, they will need to sign also. If there is no agreement, you will need to file papers to set a court date. For help, please contact the Family Law Facilitator's Office on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours. See above for information on these services.

The answer will depend on what you are doing. Not everyone needs to have a court date to resolve their issues. If you have just opened your case, you will not be assigned a court date unless you file paperwork to set a hearing. If you serve the other party with your Petition and Summons and there is no objection from the other party, it is possible that you will be able to finish your case without having to see a judge. In this case, you will complete your case by submitting additional forms.

However, if the other party files a response or if the two of you are unable to reach an agreement, you may need to request a court date. To do so, you must complete the appropriate forms, file them with the court, and then arrange for those documents to be served on the other party so that they know when the court date will be. Court dates are assigned by what the next available date is for your judge. If there is an emergency and you need to be seen sooner than the next available date, you may need to submit a request for temporary emergency orders.

The next steps that you need to take may depend on several things. For example, whether the other party filed a Response. Another consideration is whether or not you and the other party have reached agreements on all issues in your case or whether you may still need court dates to settle certain issues.

For some basic information on the different paths that a divorce case may take, you can read through the information on this website: Divorce in California | CA Courts Self Help.

If you have questions about your case and what your next steps are, please contact the Family Law Facilitator’s Office on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours. See above for information on these services.

No, if you have an attorney, you cannot use the services of the Family Law Facilitator's Office. Our office can only provide assistance to self-represented litigants.

If you are coming for drop-in assistance, please read the following:

  • Bring a blue or black pen. (The court is not providing pens at this time.)
  • Bring previously filed court documents, especially any court orders.
  • If you are currently working on forms, please bring those forms with you.
  • If you are working on support issues, bring your proof of income. Examples of proof of income include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Two months of paystubs;
    • EDD statements for unemployment or disability benefits;
    • Social security statements for retirement benefits or disability benefits;
    • Or, a Schedule C from your most recent tax return or a profit/loss statement, if you are self-employed.
  • Bring a photo ID. There may be times when court staff will need to see a photo ID in order to complete their task or function.
  • If you cannot speak or read English well, please bring someone to help interpret for you. We have bilingual staff but we cannot guarantee that they will be available at the time you visit our office.
  • Please do not bring children. The Children’s Waiting Room is currently closed and it can be difficult for you to complete your court business while also keeping an eye on your children. If you do not have childcare available, we can assist with most issues through our LiveChat function.

If your court hearing is being conducted by Zoom, you can find the link, meeting ID, and passcode for your courtroom here: Courtroom Calendars - Superior Court of California - County of Contra Costa

  • You can also find tips on how to successfully participate in your court hearing by Zoom in this handout: How to Prepare For Your Zoom Virtual Hearing
  • If you are not able to use Zoom for any reason, you can call into your court hearing instead. To find help with Zoom issues, please click on the link that says "Zoom Link Not Working?" under the Zoom Hearings section on the Court Calendars webpage.

Still have questions? Contact us on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours. See above for information on these services.

Scope of Facilitator Services

The Family Law Facilitators are attorneys employed by the Court to help parties that do not have attorneys with some procedural matters related to family law issues.

Please read the chart below for examples of the types of issues with which the Facilitators can and cannot provide assistance.

Note: This list is meant as a guide and is not a guarantee of services. The Family Law Facilitators cannot provide assistance with all family law issues.

The Family Law Facilitators CAN help with The Family Law Facilitators CANNOT help with*
Filing papers to modify child support, set payment on arrears and release your license if you have a case with the Department of Child Support Services. ADOPTIONS, GUARDIANSHIPS, TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS, GRANDPARENT OR STEPPARENT VISITATION OR JUVENILE court cases.
Providing referrals to lawyer referral services, legal aid and the Department of Child Support Services. Preparing for SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE, CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE or TRIAL.
Filing papers to get child care costs, health insurance and uninsured medical costs in your Department of Child Support Services case. NAME CHANGE, CIVIL or CRIMINAL cases (including bankruptcy and foreclosure issues).
Starting, responding to, or finishing a divorce, legal separation, or nullity case. Providing tax advice.
Starting, responding to, or finishing a parentage case. DISCOVERY, SUBPOENAS, DEPOSITIONS, WRITS OF EXECUTION, LEVIES, LIENS, CONTEMPT or provide TAX ADVICE
Getting a court date to obtain or modify custody or visitation orders. Filing an APPEAL, MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION, MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL, MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT
Getting a court date to obtain or modify spousal support orders. PENSION (QDRO), COMPLEX PROPERTY or COMPLEX SUPPORT issues

* Please note there may be additional issues the Facilitators cannot assist with that are not listed above.


Starting your Divorce

After completing the online "Start Your Divorce" workshop, you can contact us on LiveChat or come in person during our drop-in hours if you have questions or would like someone to do a quick review of your forms before you submit them.