Aug 11, 2020
A A A

Family Law Facilitator

Location: Civil and Family Law Courthouse, 3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95403
Telephone & E-mail Hours: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri
(707) 521-6545  *See below for telephone instructions

 

FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR GUIDE TO REMOTE SERVICES

Guía de Servicios Remotos de la Consejería de Derecho Familiar

The Family Law Facilitator’s Office has suspended in-person services until further notice. At this time, we are providing assistance in family law matters by phone, e-mail and Zoom videoconference.

  • Do not submit questions about legal issues that need to be handled immediately.
  • Other issues may be time-sensitive, even though they are not emergencies. Your legal rights may “expire” while you are waiting for an answer from the Family Law Facilitator’s Office.

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING SERVICES

If you have an attorney of record, the Family Law Facilitator’s Office cannot assist you.
Staff at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office can provide legal assistance to help you represent yourself in your family court case.

  • They are not your attorneys.
  • They cannot give you legal advice.
  • They do not go to court with you.
  • They are not responsible for the outcome of your case.

Services at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office are not confidential. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and any staff member.
Services at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office are neutral. Staff may assist both sides of a case.
You should obtain your own attorney if you want legal advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation or to be represented by an attorney in court.

WHAT KIND OF HELP IS AVAILABLE?

Staff at the Family Law Facilitator's Office can:

  • • Provide you blank forms and filing instructions for most family law issues.
  • • Review your completed forms before you submit them to the Clerk’s Office for filing.
  • • Answer procedural questions about most family law issues.

The Family Law Facilitator’s Office is not currently assisting with case finalization (judgments). When we resume case finalization services, information will be posted on this web page and announced on our voicemail line.

HOW DO I GET REMOTE HELP?

Contact us, and a staff member will respond to you by phone or e-mail within three business days. If you would prefer to receive assistance by Zoom videoconference, we can arrange that for you.

By Voicemail: (707)521-6545

Leave a message with the following information and a staff member will call you back:

  • Your full name.
  • Your phone number.
  • The other party’s full name.
  • Your case number, if you have one.
  • A brief description of your issue.

By E-Mail:

Fill out our online intake form and a staff member will contact you by e-mail.
*You must have Adobe Reader or a similar PDF document reader to fill in the intake form.
*To save the filled out intake form right click on the filled out form, select "save as" and select a location on your computer to save the document to.
*Select the filled out intake form from your computer and attach that document on an email to the facilitator.

WHERE CAN I GET FORMS AND FILING INSTRUCTIONS RIGHT NOW?

You can download forms at the following web sites. Click on the links below:

  1. Sonoma County Forms Packets: The Sonoma County Superior Court provides fillable forms that can be printed after you complete them on your computer. Scroll down to “Family Law Forms Packets” and select the appropriate packet from the list.
  2. Judicial Council Forms: The Judicial Council of California provides fillable forms that can be printed after you complete them on your computer.
  3. Odyssey Guide & File: This is a free online forms preparation program. Answer a series of questions and forms are generated at the end of the interview.

We have written instructions to help you complete and file most forms. Click on the links below:

Instructions to File a Request for Telephone Appearance

Instructions to File a Summary Dissolution of Marriage

Instructions to File and Serve a Petition

Instructions to File and Serve a Declaration of Disclosure

Instructions to File and Serve a Request for Order

Instructions to File and Serve a Request for Temporary Emergency Custody Orders

Instructions to File and Serve a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order

Instructions to File and Serve a Wage Assignment for Spousal Support

Instructions to File a Stipulation for Custody and Visitation

Instructions to File a Stipulation for Child Support

Reimbursement of Child Care Costs sheet

Reimbursement of Health Care Costs sheet

Sample Custody Declaration

Sample Support Declaration

Sample Profit and Loss Statement

WHERE ELSE CAN I GET FREE OR LOW-COST FAMILY LAW LEGAL ASSISTANCE?

Remote family law legal assistance may be available to you through the following organizations:

Legal Aid of Sonoma County
General: (707) 542-1290
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: (707) 595-6295
Elder Abuse Restraining Orders (707) 340-5610

Free Legal Services – Information, legal advice and assistance with applications for restraining orders. Assistance with other family law forms may be available to those who qualify.

Sonoma County Bar Association
(707) 546-5297

Lawyer Referral Services – For a $50 fee, you will receive a 30-minute consultation with an experienced attorney. There is no obligation to retain the attorney following that consultation, but if you choose to do so, the fee for representation is negotiated directly between you and that attorney.

Department of Child Support Services – Sonoma County
(866) 901-3212

Neutral assistance with establishing parentage and establishing and enforcing orders for child support.

Legal Document Assistants

A legal document assistant (“LDA”) is a non-lawyer authorized to assist with the preparation of legal forms and documents. LDAs can be found in the yellow pages or online and their fees vary. Note: Unlike a paralegal, LDAs do not work under the supervision of an attorney. LDAs are required to register with the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Otras Preguntas Frecuentes/Más Comunes de Derecho Familiar

Has the Civil & Family Courthouse reopened?

The Civil & Family Courthouse has resumed services; however, to protect the health and safety of the public and court personnel, access to the courthouse building is restricted.
The Clerk’s Office is providing in-person services in front of the courthouse Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All other court services, including hearings, mediations and assistance from the Family Law Facilitator, are being provided remotely.

How do I file documents with the court?

Documents may be submitted for filing by the following methods:
 
Online
Click here for information about e-filing and to access the e-filing portal.
 
By Mail
Send your documents via U.S. Mail to:
Family Law Clerk’s Office
Civil & Family Courthouse
3055 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Be sure to include:
1. A check payable to “Superior Court” for any applicable filing fees;
2. The original and two copies of each document you are filing;
AND
3. A self-addressed envelope, with sufficient return postage, for the clerk to use in mailing the filed copies of your documents to you.

Drop Box
Leave your documents in the drop box outside the entrance to the:
Civil & Family Courthouse
3055 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Be sure to include:
1. A check payable to “Superior Court” for any applicable filing fees;
2. The original and two copies of each document you are filing;
AND
3. A self-addressed envelope, with sufficient return postage, for the clerk to use in mailing the filed copies of your documents to you.

In Person
Bring your documents to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse at 3055 Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa. You will be asked to wait outside while your documents are processed inside.

How do I calculate the filing fee(s) for my document(s)?

Go to the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule and scroll down to “Family Law Fees” to find your document(s) and the corresponding fee(s).

What if my hearing was scheduled for a date when the court was closed?

If you had a hearing scheduled while the court was closed, the Clerk’s Office has mailed to you at the address you have on file with the court a Notice of Rescheduled Hearing with a new date and time for your hearing.

All family law hearings will be held remotely until further notice. Two weeks before your hearing date, the Clerk’s Office will mail to you at the address you have on file with the court a Notice of Remote Hearing with instructions for participating in your hearing remotely via videoconference or telephone.

Read your court notices carefully, as you may be required to serve copies of those notices on the opposing party.

It is your responsibility to make sure the court has your current mailing address so that it can send you information, notices and documents when necessary. If you need to update your mailing address, you must file a Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information.

Information about events and hearings scheduled in your case is available through the court’s case management portal or by calling the Clerk’s Office at (707) 521-6630, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. If your case is confidential, you will not be able to access information online or over the phone. You must bring photo identification to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

What if my Family Court Services appointment was scheduled for a date when the court was closed?

If you had a Family Court Services appointment scheduled while the court was closed, the Clerk’s Office has mailed to you at the address you have on file with the court a Notice of Rescheduled Hearing with a new date and time for your Family Court Services appointment.

All family law mediations and interviews will be conducted remotely until further notice. Together with your Notice of Rescheduled Hearing or in a separate mailing, the Clerk’s Office has mailed or will mail to you a Notice of Remote Child Custody Recommending Counseling (“CCRC”) Session with instructions for participating in your mediation appointment remotely via videoconference or telephone.

Read your court notices carefully, as you may be required to serve copies of those notices on the opposing party.

It is your responsibility to make sure the court has your current mailing address so that it can send you information, notices and documents when necessary. If you need to update your mailing address, you must file a Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information.

Information about events and hearings scheduled in your case is available through the court’s case management portal or by calling the Clerk’s Office at (707) 521-6630, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. If your case is confidential, you will not be able to access information online or over the phone. You must bring photo identification to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

What should I do if the court says it mailed a notice or document to me, but I never received it?

First, confirm that the court has your current mailing address. You can do this by calling the Clerk’s Office at (707) 521-6630, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. If your case is confidential, you will not be able to confirm your mailing address over the phone. You must bring photo identification to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

If the court does not have your current mailing address, you must file a Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information.

Next, request copies of any notices or documents you did not receive. You can do this at the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. You will be charged 50 cents per page copied.

How do I attend my hearing or Family Court Services appointment and still adhere to social distancing practices?

All family law court hearings and mediations will be held remotely until further notice. Two weeks before your hearing or mediation appointment date, the Clerk’s Office will mail to you at the address you have on file with the court a Notice of Remote Hearing and/or Notice of Remote Child Custody Recommending Counseling (“CCRC”) Session with instructions for participating in your hearing or mediation appointment via videoconference or telephone.
All persons authorized to enter any court location must comply with all active orders of the Sonoma County Health Officer, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing, as well as any other health and safety measures required by the court.

Do I need a computer or smartphone to participate in my remote hearing or mediation session?

No, you do not need a computer or smartphone to participate in your remote hearing or mediation session. You can call in using any telephone, including a landline. Please refer to your Notice of Remote Hearing or Notice of Remote CCRC Session for instructions.

Where can I find information about the status of my case?

Information about documents that have been filed and events and hearings scheduled in your case is available through the court’s case management portal or by calling the Clerk’s Office at (707) 521-6630, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. If your case is confidential, you will not be able to access information online or over the phone. You must bring photo identification to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

How do I find out if the court granted my request for a restraining order or other temporary emergency orders?

If you request a restraining order or other temporary emergency (“ex parte”) orders, the results will be available after 2:00 p.m. on the date your request is reviewed. The results will be posted on the domestic violence and ex parte web page, and you can pick up your filed documents at the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

If your case is confidential, you will not be able to view the results online. You must bring photo identification to the blue tent in front of the Civil & Family Courthouse, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

How can I have the opposing party personally served with documents?

The following people or agencies can personally serve the opposing party and sign your Proof of Service:

Any Adult Who Is Not a Party to Your Case

Any adult who is not a party to your case (or protected by your restraining order, if you have one) can personally serve your documents for you.

A Process Server

A professional process server can personally serve your documents for a fee. Process servers can be found in the yellow pages or online and their fees vary. Process servers are required to register with the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

The Sonoma County Sheriff

You can request that the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office personally serve the opposing party with your documents, even while their office is closed to the public.

Restraining Orders

The sheriff’s office will serve a restraining order free of charge. You may submit your restraining order to the sheriff’s office by e-mail, fax or by scheduling an appointment for in-person delivery as described here.

Other Documents

The sheriff’s office will serve other legal documents for a fee of $40, unless the court has granted you a fee waiver. You may submit such documents to the sheriff’s office by mail only.

Send your documents via U.S. Mail to:

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
ATTN: Civil Bureau
2796 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Be sure to include:
1. Three copies of each document to be served;
2. Either a check payable to “Sonoma County Sheriff” in the amount of $40 or an endorsed filed copy of your Order on Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (Form FW-003);
AND
3. A completed General Service Instructions form.

 

© 2020 Superior Court of Sonoma County