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Family Law

Family Law cases involve parties who are ending a marriage or domestic partnership by filing dissolution, legal separation or nullity of marriage; as well as family issues such as establishment of parental relationship, petitions for custody and support, request for orders regarding, child custody, support, or visitation, support enforcement, or individuals who seek protection from domestic violence, civil harassment, workplace violence or elder abuse.

Location

Main Courthouse, 1500 Court Street, Room 319, Redding CA 96001 - Map
Office Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM

(530) 245-6789
(530) 605-2802 Fax

FIND INFORMATION ABOUT

Child Support

Before parents can address the issue of child support, there must be an underlying action. If the parents are married, either the mother or the father must first file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, nullity, or file a petition for custody and support of minor children. If the parents are unmarried, either the mother or the father must file an action to establish the parental relationship or file a petition for custody and support of minor children. There is no legal obligation to pay child support until a court order is in place. A court order is obtained by requesting a hearing.

Once an underlying action has been filed, the Court can address the issue of child support in the underlying action. Further discussion of child support can be located by referring to the appropriate underlying action.

Child support issues may be raised through an action initiated by the California Department of Child Support Services.

Click here for more information on child support.

The office of the Family Law Facilitator assists parties with support issues. The staff consists of an attorney and staff who will meet with parties individually to attempt to resolve their support issues. The staff does not give legal advice nor does it represent a particular party in an action. There is no confidentiality nor attorney-client relationship created or intended between the office and a party.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Civil Harassment

A person who has suffered harassment may seek a civil harassment protective order. Harassment is defined as follows:

  • Unlawful violence.
  • A credible threat of violence or
  • A knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person and that serves no legitimate purpose.

Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6(b), the course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the victim.

A victim who is a target of abuse but does not have the necessary relationship to the batterer may file a civil harassment restraining order, discussed below.

The restraining order can include restraints on personal conduct by the batterer, order the batterer to stay away from the victim's home/work and/or children's school, and other miscellaneous orders. There is no requirement that there be a relationship between the victim and a batterer in order to obtain the protective order. However, there must be recent acts of harassment.

Click here for more information on civil harassment.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center can provide information and referral services for domestic violence restraining orders.


Custody and Visitation

Before parents can address the issues of custody and visitation of their minor children, there must be an underlying action. If the parents are married, either the mother or the father must first file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, nullity, or file a petition for custody and support of minor children's action. If the parents are unmarried, either the mother or the father must file an action to establish the parental relationship or file a petition for custody and support of minor children.

Once an underlying action has been filed, the Court can address the issues of custody and visitation. Further discussion of custody and visitation can be located by referring to the appropriate underlying action.

Click here for more information on custody and visitation.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Centeroffers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership

This action can be filed by a person to end the marital relationship or domestic partnership. Along with restoring the parties to single status, the Court may issue orders for custody and visitation of the minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, and confirm or divide community and separate property assets and debts.

Once an action is filed by the petitioner, the other party, the respondent, must be personally served with specific paperwork. If the respondent fails to file the necessary responding paperwork within the time allowed (the time allowed is determined by how the petition and summons were served on the respondent), the petitioner may request an entry of default. Once the default is entered, the petitioner can complete the divorce proceeding without the participation of the respondent.

If the respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case will then proceed as either a contested matter or an uncontested matter. The action is considered contested if the parties are unable to agree on some or all issues, and the unresolved issues must be resolved by the Court. The action is considered uncontested if the parties are able to cooperate and agree on all issues outside of Court, and the matter can proceed to its conclusion by submitting the necessary signed paperwork for the Court's signature.

Click here for more information on dissolution of marriage.

The State Bar of California has created the pamphlet "Options for Divorce in California," providing important information regarding the alternative options for divorce.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a Court order issued to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, abuse is defined as any of the following:

  • Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
  • Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail, or otherwise disturbing the peace of the other party.

You can ask for a restraining order if a person has abused you, and you have a close relationship with that person. Specifically, a "close relationship" exists if you are married to, divorced or separated from, dating or used to date, living with or used to live with your abuser. Similarly, a "close relationship" exists if you are related to your abuser (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law). You have to be more intimately involved than just roommates.

A victim who is a target of abuse but does not have the necessary relationship to the batterer may file a civil harassment restraining order, discussed below.

The restraining order can include the following: restraints on personal conduct by the batterer; orders for the batterer to stay-away from the victim's home/work and/or children's school; orders for the batterer to be removed from the residence; child custody, visitation, and support orders; and other miscellaneous orders.

Click here for more information on restraining orders.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center can provide information and referral services for domestic violence restraining orders.


Establishing Parentage (Paternity)

When a child is conceived by, or born to, unmarried parents, either the unmarried mother or the unmarried father may file an action to establish paternity. Through this action, the Court will determine paternity (or non-paternity if the father is found not to be the biological father of the minor children), and make custody and visitation as well as child support orders.

Once an action is filed by a petitioner, the other party, the respondent, must be personally served with specific paperwork. If the respondent fails to file the necessary responding paperwork within the time allowed (the time allowed is determined by how the petition and summons were served on the respondent), the petitioner may request the entry of default. Once the default is entered, the petitioner can complete the paternity proceeding without the participation of the respondent.

If the respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case will then proceed as either a contested matter or an uncontested matter. The action is considered contested if the parties are unable to agree on some or all issues, and the unresolved issues must be resolved by the Court. The action is considered uncontested if the parties are able to cooperate and agree on all issues outside of Court, and the matter can proceed to its conclusion by submitting the necessary signed paperwork for the Court's signature.

Click here for more information on establishing paternity.

For information on establishing parentage by an administrative process, click here to go to the California Department of Child Support Services Paternity Opportunity Program.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

General Information

"Family" law is the general term used to refer to the various actions regarding marital relationships and relationships between parents and children, as well as violence between family, friends, or acquaintances.

Clerks are prohibited by law from giving legal advice. The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Centercan provide you general information about the laws, rules, procedures and forms necessary to work your way through your court case..

Family law documents and civil restraining orders are filed in Room 319, which is the Civil Division of the Superior Court. Filing Fees change occasionally; therefore, you will need to access the current fees for filing your family-law documents. If you feel that you are eligible for a fee waiver, you may pick up an application in the Civil Division, or access the application from the Judicial Council website.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Legal Separation of Marriage or Domestic Partnership

This action can be filed by a person who wishes to maintain the marital or domestic partnership status but separate and resolve all other issues of the marriage. The Court may issue orders for custody and visitation of the minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, and confirm or award community and separate property assets and debts. If the other party, the respondent, responds to the paperwork and requests a dissolution of marriage, the Court will grant the dissolution of marriage.

Once an action is filed by a petitioner, the respondent must be personally served with specific paperwork. If the respondent fails to file the necessary responding paperwork within the time allowed (the time allowed is determined by how the petition and summons were served on the respondent), the petitioner may request an entry of default. Once the default is entered, the petitioner can complete the legal separation proceeding without the participation of the respondent.

If the respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case will then proceed as either a contested matter or an uncontested matter. The action is considered contested if the parties are unable to agree on some or all issues, and the unresolved issues must be resolved by the Court. The action is considered uncontested if the parties are able to cooperate and agree on all issues outside of Court, and the matter can proceed to its conclusion by submitting the necessary signed paperwork for the Court's signature.

Click here for more information on legal separation.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Nullity of Marriage of Domestic Partnership

This action can be filed by a person to restore the parties to the status of single, as if they were never married or domestic partners. Certain conditions must be met before the Court will consider the marriage or domestic partnership void. Regardless of how the case proceeds, the petitioner, the person who initiated the case, will have the burden to prove to the Court that one of the conditions for nullity has been met before the Court will grant the nullity of marriage or domestic partnership. The Court can also issue orders regarding property and debt division, custody, and support.

Click here for more information on nullity of marriage or domestic partnership.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.


Parenting after Separation - online course

This online, free, parent education course is specifically for parents in California. It can be accessed directly at parenting.familieschange.ca.gov and through familieschange.ca.gov which includes more information for parents, teens, and children. The course is a resource for families to help understand the divorce and separation process with a focus on ways to help minimize conflict. Parenting after Separation provides approximately three hours of parent education addressing separation and divorce, children’s developmental needs, and the court process. The course includes:

  • Videos with children’s perspectives.
  • Worksheets for parents to consider possible parenting plans prior to or as a part of mediation.
  • An extensive online handbook providing information that elaborates upon the course content.

Click here for more information on families and children.

Petition For Custody and Support of Minor Children

This action may be filed by married or unmarried parents to obtain custody and support orders without filing a dissolution of marriage/legal separation or nullity action if the parents of the minor children are married or without filing an action to establish a parental relationship if the parents of the minor children are unmarried. This action is limited and can only be used in certain situations by a married or unmarried parent. This action does not deal with property or marital status if the parents are married or establish a parental relationship if the parents are unmarried. To address these other issues, the married parents would need to file an action requesting a dissolution of marriage/legal separation or nullity action. Unmarried parents need to file an action to establish the parental relationship.

Click here for more information on custody and support.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.

Spousal Support

Once an underlying action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation has been filed, the Court can address the issue of spousal support in the underlying action. There is no legal obligation to pay spousal support until a court order is in place.

In limited situations, the Court can order spousal support in a nullity action. A Court order is obtained by filing a motion. Further discussion of spousal support can be located by referring to the appropriate underlying action.

Click here for more information on spousal support.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center can provide information and referral services for domestic violence restraining orders.

Summary Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership

This action can be used by a couple to end a marriage or domestic partnership. This action is very limited and can only be used by a couple who meet the following requirements:

  • The parties have been married less than five (5) years as of the date the action is filed.
  • There are no children together born before or during the marriage, including by adoption, and the wife, to her knowledge, is not pregnant as of the date the action is filed.
  • Neither party has any interest/ownership in real estate.
  • Neither party is seeking spousal support.
  • The community and/or separate property assets total less than $40,000.
  • The community or separate debt is less than $6,000 (excluding vehicles).
  • The parties waive their rights to appeal or move for a new trial.

The couple jointly signs the necessary paperwork and the originals are filed with the Court. There is a six (6) month waiting period from the filing date of the Summary Dissolution until the dissolution of marriage is final. Any time within the six month waiting period either party may file a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution if they no longer wish to end the marriage.

Click here for more information on summary dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership.

The Family Law Facilitator/Self Help Center offers assistance that will guide you step by step in preparing your paperwork.


© 2009 Superior Court of Shasta County