To schedule an Orientation, see information on the Orientation class web page.
To schedule a mediation, go to Family Court Services at the Family Court, upper level. See the Family Courthouse page for hours. Or call, (408) 534-5600 and listen for the Family Court Services option.
FCS Waiting Room policies: You must have an appointment with FCS to use our waiting room, on the second floor of the Family Courthouse.
If you do not have an appointment, please wait on the main floor. Please try not to bring children unless you have been asked to bring them.
If your children are with you and you haven't been asked to bring them, please bring a family member to stay with the children on the main floor while you are upstairs.
If there is a Restraining Order in your case, the restrained party must wait on the main floor.
Complaint process and form
FCS wants to know if you have a concern about its service. We are interested only in helping you and the courts make the best decisions possible to meet the needs and interests of your children.
We encourage all clients with complaints about their experience with Family Court Services to first talk directly with the individuals involved in order to try and work things out. Many complaints about mediation and evaluation services are a result of misunderstanding or miscommunication, and many of these misunderstandings can be worked out through direct, honest discussion.
If you want an investigation of and response to a complaint, you must submit the complaint in writing (Complaint Form FM-1078 ). You must give a copy of the written complaint to the attorney or self-represented person on the other side and submitted one of the following:
- FCS Declaration of Mailing or
(Local Form FM-1061 )
- Proof of Personal Service
(State Form FL-330 ), or
- Proof of Service by Mail
(State Form FL-335 )
Once the complaint has been investigated, a written response will be prepared and sent to the complaining person and copied to all the attorneys/self-represented persons in the case.
The Office of Family Court Services performs child custody mediation, emergency screening, and evaluation services upon court referral. See this Flowchart for an overview of custody and visitation events involving Family Court Services.
Family Court Services offers an Orientation class to prepare for child custody mediation and evaluations at no fee. See the Orientation class web page for more information and how to sign up.
The FCS Office is located at the Family Courthouse at 170 Park Avenue in downtown San Jose. See the Family Courthouse page for address, directions, and phone numbers for the Family Courthouse. Services are also offered at the South County Courthouse, Sunnyvale Courthouse, and (mediation only) Notre Dame Courthouse. Your paperwork will tell you where to go.
Family Court Services provides a range of programs. Click to read more about the FCS programs and services offered.
When you come to a mediation, you may find it helpful to bring the following documents:
- Your personal calendar Your children's school schedule (so you know where there are school breaks, for making future appointments)
- Any restraining order you might have
- Notes that you've written about what you hope to get out of mediation
The following forms and documents may be useful during the mediation process. Some of these may be sent to you by FCS in the mail, or they may be given to you in person when you are at FCS. The forms below are also used by attorneys representing clients in Family Court, or by persons representing themselves.
- Fee Waiver - see the Fee Waiver section on this page, below
- DV Protocol
- Domestic Violence and Child Custody Information Sheet (English ; español )
- DV Questionnaire for Parents, Local Form FM-1076 (English ; español )
- Emergency Screening Referral procedures, Local Form FM-1079
- FCS Declaration of Mailing or Personal Service, Local Form FM-1061
- FCS Intake Form, Local Form FM-1015 (English ; español )
- Mediation Feedback Form - Parent Survey, Local Form FM-1039
- Scheduling of JCC (Judicial Custody Conference) out of Private Mediation - Procedure ,
and JCC Statement Local Form FM-1016
- Protective Order re: FCS Information, Local Form FM-1036
- Support Person for Victim of Domestic Violence Information Sheet, Local Form FM-1071
- Waiver of Mediation Confidentiality, Local Form FM-1073
- Waiver of Right to Individual Sessions, Local Form FM-1072
Screenings and evaluations
- Flowchart for Custody and Visitation
Mediation is free. However, you will be charged a fee of $100 if you do not show up for an appointment, or if you cancel with less than 48 hours notice for a mediation appointment, or less than 1 week notice for an assessment or evaluation appointment.
Court Filing Fees do not cover Family Court Services fees. Read this announcement about FCS fees .
FCS Fees: there is a charge of $160 per hour for FCS processes that require a recommendation to the Court.
Deposits: $250 for Screenings; $750 for Evaluations. If you subpoena an FCS staff person, there is a deposit fee of $275. You will be billed for service time that is not covered by the deposit.
If you cannot afford the fees, you must submit a fee waiver. See this FCS Fee Waiver Form Packet or click the links below for the online (fillable) forms (available in both English and Spanish).
- Request to Waive Court Fees (forms fillable online): English FW-001 and español FW-001S
- Request to Waive Additional Court Fees (forms fillable online): English FW-002 and español FW-002S
- Order on Court Fee Waiver (forms fillable online): English FW-003 and español FW-003S
- Print a packet with the above forms, to complete by hand: FCS Fee Waiver Form Packet
Help with Fee Waiver Forms:
- State Court instruction sheet for FW-001: English and español
- Video instructions for this form: see A/V instructions for FW-001 .
- See sample versions of FW-001 and FW-003 on the Form Packets page
Also, the First 5 program (see tab below) can help you pay for Supervised Visitation, Therapeutic Supervised Visitation, and Parenting Without Violence classes. Program staff can also connect you to other services offered by a FIRST 5 Family Partner. See the First 5 program tab, below, to find how to contact someone who can answer your questions about this.
- Community resource list prepared by Family Court Services
- Drug testing services prepared by Family Court Services
- Guide to Local Resources Santa Clara County Mental Health Dept. - contact information for local hotlines, family wellness, mental health resources, immigration information, parent education, and more
- CalWORKS Resource Guide County of Santa Clara - emergency resources, plus help with health services, transportation, child care, employment services, housing and more
- Recommended books to help with mediation and parenting: see pages 28-29 (last two pages) of the "Kids, Court and You" FCS Orientation Handbook (English version , Spanish version )
- Websites for parents : Online resources for children and families
The State Administrative Office of the Court has videos for children, teens, and parents covering some of the issues involved in going through a divorce. See Families Change - Your Guide to Separation and Divorce.
Also see the tabs below, and also the list of community resources on the Self-Help family Resources and Referrals page.
- 16-week programs:
- 52-week programs:
- Santa Clara County Certified Child Abuser's Treatment Programs (available only to DFCS clients)
- Santa Clara County Certified Batterers/Domestic Violence Programs (Condado de Santa Clara Programas Certificados En Violencia Domestica)
- Supervised visitation:
- Supervised Visitation Provider list - list of agencies known to the Court that provide supervised visitation
- Supervised Provider Declaration (Local Form FM-1043 ) - Annual Declaration under Penalty of Perjury
- California Rules of Court: Standard 5.20 - Uniform standards of practice for providers of supervised visitation
- Guide for Non-Professional Supervised Visitation Providers
- For parents: Supervised Visitation and You
- Para Los Padres: Las Visitas Supervisadas y Usted
- Therapeutic visitation: Therapeutic Supervised Visitation initial protocol
- Community organizations offering parenting education
Family Law Treatment Court is a treatment plan that helps parents who have alcohol or drug problems get into treatment and stay clean and sober, so that they can be better parents and possibly spend more time with their children. The Family Law Treatment Court Coordinator can be reached at 408-534-5769 . See the Participant Handbook , given to parents interested in following this treatment plan, for more information.
- is voluntary – it’s up to the parent to choose to do
- it lasts for one year
- is supervised by the Court
- is customized for everyone going through the program, because each person has different needs
Who can use it? Parents who have a current child custody or visitation case in Family Court.
How does the Court help? The Treatment Court Judge and a Treatment Court Coordinator tell parents about places to get treatment. The Court has custody review hearings every 4 months.
- provide support
- set up random drug testing
- watch over the parent's progress in treatment
The parties in the case, their lawyers and the all-purpose judge in charge of the child custody and visitation matters can find out about the progress the parent is making in treatment.
FIRST 5 Services
Santa Clara County and Superior Court are partners in the FIRST 5 program which helps young children get a good start in life.
Who can use FIRST 5? You can use FIRST 5 services if you:
- live in Santa Clara County
- have an open case in the Family Court system
- are pregnant or have at least one child age 5 or younger in your home
Here are some of the things FIRST can help with:
- helping children get ready to do well in school
- health insurance
- dental work
- eyeglasses for children
- counseling, parenting classes, domestic violence services, and substance abuse treatment - plus may help pay for these services if they have been court ordered and the parents qualify
- food, shelter, and/or clothing
Here are ways to get FIRST 5 services:
- FIRST 5 Specialists at Family Court can help families get resources for children. Call 408-534-5784 .
- Eligible families with a court order for supervised visitation may have these services paid by money from FIRST 5.
- FIRST 5 also funds the Family Law Treatment Court Coordinators.
Mental Health Resources
Note: The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara is making the names and lists below available as a public service only.
By accessing these lists, you understand and agree that the Superior Court is not in any way responsible or liable for the acts, omissions, or services, of any of the providers, or for any other actions taken based upon the information provided.
- The County of Santa Clara has a website called the Mental Health Professional Services Directory where you can look up local Family Court related counseling and evaluation services.
- Click for the Santa Clara County Psychological Association (SCCPA) Forensic Committee's searchable list of evaluators/mental health professionals . Individuals on this list may provide a variety of services such as custody evaluations, assessments, or counseling for families and children in separating/divorcing families.
- There are also counseling services listed on the family resources page.