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family court services (FCS)

Appointments

To attend an Orientation (in person or online), 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:

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..

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.

Mediation information and forms

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.

Screenings and evaluations

Fees

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.

Fee Waiver

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).

Forms:

Help with Fee Waiver Forms:

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.

Additional Services and Resources

Families Change

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.

Court-ordered programs

Treatment Court

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.

The plan:

  • 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.

They also:

  • 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.

Read full disclaimer .

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara