Family Court Services | Superior Court of California (2023)


The mission of Family Court Services is to serve the families of Kern County with the development of the best possible solution for difficult family transitions in a timely, professional, and ethical manner.

  • Helpful Hints:

  1. Be prepared by having your case number ready when calling Family Court Services.

  2. All Family Court Services cases are confidential. In order to ensure the privacy, we require proof of identification.

  3. It is the responsibility of the parties to make prior arrangements for their appointments by calling at least 1 business day before. Voice messages will be accepted.

  4. Attorneys and new spouses/partners are NOT permitted to attend mediation appointments.

  5. The use of audio or visual recording devices of any type is NOT allowed during mediation.

Family Court Services Information

Consistent with the spirit of California law, Family Court Services provides the residents of Kern County with an array of services for families involved in Family Court and Probate Court matters.

Family Court Mediation & Investigation

Each juvenile court is encouraged to develop a dependency mediation program to provide a problem-solving forum for all interested persons to develop a plan in the best interest of the child, emphasizing the strengthening and preservation of the family. The Legislature finds that mediation of these matters assists the court in resolving conflict, and helps the court to intervene in a constructive manner in those cases where the court’s intervention is necessary. The dependency mediation program has been established in the juvenile court. The judge may order that a matter be set for a confidential mediation to develop a plan in the best interest of the child, utilizing resources within the family first and within the community if required.

(Video) He Won Custody So She Ran from California to Georgia to Avoid Giving Up Son | NBA in Family Court

In some cases, the court may appoint a Family Court Services Investigator to evaluate a family and make recommendations about visitation and custody. The goal of a child custody evaluation is to provide the Court and the parties with objective information and recommendations about a family to assist the Court in issuing orders in highly contested custody disputes. The investigator conducting the child custody evaluation is a neutral mental health professional and is knowledgeable in the areas of how divorce affects children. There are two types of evaluations:

  • Fully Custody Evaluation This is a comprehensive examination of the health, safety, welfare, and best interest of the child. The examination involves multiple interviews with the family, extensive review of collateral information and results in a written report.
  • Partial Custody Evaluation This is an examination of the health, safety, and best interest of the child that is limited by the court order in either time or scope.

When the Court orders a child custody evaluation, the parties have ten business days to complete a

Child Custody questionnaire

Child Custody questionnaire - Spanish

and submit it to Family Court Services:
Family Court Services
1215 Truxtun Ave., Room 301
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Family Court Services investigates matters for Freedom from Parental Custody and Control of a child. After a petition has been filed with the court, Family Court orders an investigation as to these matters. An investigator will conduct an independent review of the case, interview the parties, which includes the minors. The investigator assesses whether the criteria to terminate the parental rights has been met, and whether it is in the best interest of the minor for the petition to be granted. A report is completed with a recommendation to the Court.

FCS Abandonment Questionnaire

Stepparents who wish to adopt a child of the stepparent’s spouse may for that purpose file a petition with the Family Law Department. A Family Court Services investigator will conduct an independent review of the case, interview the parties, which includes the minors, and complete a report with a recommendation to the Court as to the best interest of the minor.

FCS Stepparent Questionnaire

California law requires a person under the age of 18 to obtain consent from at least one parent or guardian and permission in the form of a court order. The Court has the discretion to grant permission for a minor to marry or establish a domestic partnership. A Family Court Services investigator will interview the parties and may recommend the parties participate in premarital counseling. The investigator will file a report with Family Court.

Minor Marriages Questionnaire

Probate Court Investigation

The Probate judge appoints Family Court Services to conduct investigations of proposed guardians, who are relatives of children whose parents are otherwise unable to meet the best interest of the children pursuant to Probate Code § 1513(a).

  • Guardianship Pamphlet

Beginning January 2, 2020, Family Court Services has been conducting background checks in relative guardianship cases for all petitioners and other adults residing in the home. A guardianship questionnaire must be completed and submitted to Family Court Services. When submitting the questionnaires, petitioners can email them directly.

  • Guardianship questionnaire
  • Guardianship termination

The Probate Court appoints a Court Investigator to conduct an investigation for limited and general conservatorship proceedings of the person and the estate.

What is conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a judge appoints a family member, friend or other responsible person (conservator) to take care of a dependent adult (conservatee) who cannot care of himself/herself and/or their finances.
There are two types of conservatorships, person and estate. Conservatorship of the Person:
In these situations, the conservator is responsible for ensuring the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decision, the conservator may need to make important medical choices for him or her. Conservatorship of the Estate:
The conservator handles the conservatee’s financial matters. These responsibilities include the conservatee’s finances, protecting income and property, paying bills, making investments, preparing and filing taxes on behalf of the conservatee. The conservator is also required to make regular reports of financial account to the courts and other interested parties.

General Conservatorship v. Limited Conservatorship

General Conservatorships:
Are for elderly people, but can also be for younger people who have been seriously impaired, for example a traumatic brain injury as result of a motor vehicle accident. Limited Conservatorships: Are for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully provide basic needs of food shelter and clothing or their finances. Conservatees in Limited Conservatorships do not need the higher level of care that conservatees in General Conservatorships need. The responsibility of the limited conservator is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence.

What is a temporary conservatorship?

A temporary conservatorship may be set up when a person needs immediate help. A judge may appoint a temporary conservator to take care of the conservatee’s immediate needs until a permanent conservator can be appointed. A temporary conservator may be a conservator of the person, conservator of the estate, or both. He or she arranges for temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee and protects the conservatee’s finances and property from loss or damage until a permanent conservator can be appointed. The authority of the temporary conservator is much more limited than a permanent conservator.

What is a Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship?

Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorships are based on the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act of 1969 law named after its sponsors. The LPS conservatorships are created to arrange for certain types of very restrictive living arrangements and extended mental health treatment for people who are unable to provide for their own needs for food, clothing, or shelter as a result of a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism, and who cannot agree to the arrangement of treatment voluntarily. This process must be started by a local government agency, usually a county’s public guardian or public conservator. Therefore, Family Court Services does not cover these conservatorships.

(Video) Family Court Mediation Orientation Video (English)

  • Conservatorship handbook

Professional Supervised Visitation Providers


DISCLAIMER: The providers listed have identified themselves to the Kern County Superior Court as supervised visitation providers in this area. These providers are not affiliated with the court, and each provider is independently responsible for compliance with any and all applicable legal requirements. The court does not endorse, evaluate, supervise, or monitor these programs.

Information about submitting questions, concerns, or complaints

All information must be submitted in writing. Please submit your information via email.

Additions/Changes/Removal from/to Supervised Visitation Provider List

Anyone who wishes to be added to the Supervised Visitation Provider List must complete and comply with the requirements

If you wish to be added, be removed, or to make a change to the Supervised Visitation Provider List, all information must be submitted in writing.

Please submit your information via email.

Only trainings with the Judicial Council of California will be accepted. For information visit: Here.

Professional Supervised Visitation Provider List

The Professional Supervised Visitation Provider List

Nonprofessional Providers Supervising Child Visits

A nonprofessional provider is someone who does not have special training to supervise parents visiting with their child. They may monitor the exchanges of a child between the parents. A nonprofessional provider may be a friend or family member which both parents agree to have supervise the visit or the exchange. They do not get paid.

A nonprofessional provider should:

  • Make safety their top priority during the visit or exchange

  • Speak the same language as the parents and child

  • Be neutral

  • Be comfortable following the judge’s order

  • Feel comfortable ending a visit, if needed

A qualified nonprofessional provider must not have a record of child abuse, child molestation, or any crime against another person. They do not qualify if they have been on probation or parole in the last 10 years.

  1. The nonprofessional provider must read and understand the judge’s order.

  2. They must also complete a court form FL-324(NP)

To learn more about your role, go to A Guide for Non-Professional Providers. This information is in Spanish. To better understand your role, a free training is available at

General Guidelines for Your Parenting Plan:

Unless there are restraining orders that prevent parents from communicating, parents should discuss how they are working to reduce the risk of the children being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. In general, a parent cannot deny the other parent their parenting time based on a subjective belief that the other parent is not protecting the children well enough.

COVID-19 is not a reason to deny parenting time. Parents are considered fit to care for their children and make the day-to-day parenting decisions, unless a court has decided differently. Day-to-day care includes following orders and recommendations by the State of California and Kern County Public Health, such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

While schools are closed, parenting time should continue as if the children are attending school in their regular school district. Parents should not treat the school closure as the child’s spring or summer break. It is also not treated as a “weekend” under the parenting plan.

During the exchange of children, parties should follow public health directives for limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This may mean choosing a different location with fewer people or fewer risks of contamination from objects or surfaces. (Example: moving the exchange from inside a store or restaurant to the parking lot)

If the parenting time is supposed to take place in a public place that is now closed, such as a park, the parents should try to agree to a different and safe location. If that is not possible, the parenting time should instead take place by video or telephone.

If a parent is ordered to have supervised visitation with a child, and the supervisor is unavailable due to COVID- 19 related issues, the parents should work together to make sure that a safe visit can happen. For example, the parents could agree to having a different supervisor for the visits, or allow the visit to take place by video or telephone.

If a parent cannot spend time with a child under the existing parenting plan due to COVID-19 related issues, parents should work together to schedule makeup parenting time in a way that ensures the children's safety and wellbeing.

If you need to change the existing parenting plan because you and the other parent cannot agree on needed changes, the Family Court offers hearings and child custody mediation by telephone or video. If you have evidence that there is an immediate threat to a child’s health or safety, you may ask the court for emergency orders.

Our first responders (Sheriff, police, fire, EMTs) are providing much needed support for issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and must be available for true emergencies. So please do not call first responders regarding enforcement of child custody orders unless an immediate and significant safety issue is present.

(Video) Orientation to Family Court Mediation and Child Custody Recommending Counseling


Family Court Services provides the residents of Kern County with an array of assistance for individuals involved in Family Court and Probate Court. The department delivers the following court ordered services: confidential child custody mediations, juvenile court dependency mediations, family court investigations (termination of parental rights and stepparent adoption investigations), child custody evaluations, and probate court investigations (conservatorship and relative guardianship investigations).

Mediation Appointments

If you have a mediation appointment, call the office at (661) 610-6700 or send an email on the day and time of your appointment to let us know you are available for mediation. Provide us with your name, telephone number and case number. Please read and complete the following forms. Once they are completed, you may email them along with the confirmation of your appointment. This will help expedite your mediation appointment.

  • Mediation Informed Consent and Questionnaire
  • Mediation Informed Consent and Questionnaire -Spanish

Child Custody Mediation

Family Court mediation is a confidential session which involves the discussion between the parents and a neutral mental health professional for the development of an effective co-parenting plan for their children. Mediation gives parents the opportunity to reach an agreement for child custody and visitation that is in the best interest of their children. Mediation is most effective when the parents complete the Children First Online Program. This program allows parents to acknowledge the importance of focusing on sharing their parental responsibilities in a way that is most beneficial for their children. It is required that both parents complete this program prior to attending their mediation session. Failure to complete the program may delay the mediation process. Children First Online Program

Orientation to Family Law Mediation

The program is available from the California Court website.

The court believes the information provided in this program will help you make better decisions regarding your children and will help you understand the family law process.

Parent Manual

Parent Manual - Spanish

Family Law Mediation Videos

Resource Directory- English

Resource Directory - Spanish

(Video) Information you need to protect your rights in family court - Truth Bomb 1 by Ron B Palmer

Domestic Violence

If your case involves domestic violence or active restraining orders, it is important for you to read and understand this information prior to your court hearing.

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  • 3044sheet_spanish

Mediation FAQs

Mediation is mandatory. When there is a child custody dispute, the parents must attend mediation. The Family Code requires that parents attempt to resolve any issues through mediation prior to any court hearing.

Mediation in Kern County is confidential. When the parents and the mediator discuss any child custody concerns or the development of a co-parenting plan, mediators do not report to anyone including the court or judges except under certain circumstances. Mediators do inform the court if:

  • A parent does not appear for mediation
  • Parents cannot reach an agreement
  • Recommend that Minors Counsel be appointed
  • Recommend a Child Custody Investigation

The request to appoint Minors Counsel or a child custody investigation are only recommendations. Judges may or may not grant these requests made by the mediator.

Mediators are mental health professionals, which means they are mandated to report any suspected child abuse to the Department of Human Services Child Protective Services. Mediators are also required to report if there is a danger to self or others.

After mediation sessions are complete, mediators do not make any other recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation other than the ones previously mentioned.

  • Purpose of Mediation:

    The purpose of mediation is to offer a neutral place for parents to plan their children’s care and shared parental responsibilities. The parents are given the opportunity to resolve any disputes pertaining to Legal and Physical Custody before the court makes any order. Mediation sessions may last minutes or hours.

  • Developing a Child Custody Plan:

    The mediator will assist the parents in the development of a written co-parenting plan, which includes specific information on how the parents will make decisions about time share, exchanges of the child, communication between the parents about the child, health, education, extracurricular activities, etc. These co-parenting plans are also known as agreements. An agreement is a detailed description of how the children will spend their time with each parent and how the parents will make important decisions about the children’s health, safety, and welfare.The mediator will draft an agreement that is acceptable to both parents.Mediators can decline to draft an agreement when they believe it is not in the best interest of the children. Once an agreement between the parents is established, the agreement is sent to the judicial officer to become a court order.

  • Interviews with Children:

    Children who are 8 years of age or older are asked to be present during mediation so the mediator may interview them, separately from the parents. Mediators are trained to interview children in order to assist parents in developing parenting plans. Children are never asked to make a decision with whom they want to live. Children are not able to make these choices, but they can discuss their concerns with the mediators. The communication between the children and the mediator is confidential. The mediator will not share with the parents any information discussed with the children unless the children give permission to disclose their concerns with the parents.

  • Violence Between Parents:

    The law allows for separate mediation when there are allegations of domestic violence or a restraining order in place. Alleged victims are allowed to have a support person with them during mediation. At the time of the mediation, the alleged victim will complete a questionnaire regarding their request for separate mediation. Mediators may initiate separate sessions between the parents, if there is an appearance of intimidation whether there are allegations of domestic violence or not.

  • If No Agreement is Reached:

    Although the law requires that parents participate in the mediation process, there is no requirement that they reach an agreement. The mediator will notify the court that the parents participated in mediation but they were not able to establish an agreement. The mediator will not make any recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation when the parents do not reach an agreement. The judicial officer will meet with the parents for a court hearing.

Family Court Services mediators are court employees. Mediators are required to have a Master’s Degree in a behavioral health field: Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapist, Professional Counseling, or Psychology with at least two years paid post-masters experience. Many mediators hold a license and others are associates in clinical social work or marriage, family, and child counseling, professional counseling, or psychology. Several of the mediators speak Spanish. Mediators are required to have specialized training in order to mediate and investigate matters related to child custody. They do not provide any legal advice, and they remain neutral throughout the mediation session.Information about standards for mediators can be located at California Rules of Court.

Customer Complaint Process

At Family Court Services, we appreciate you taking the time to inform us of your complaint about the services you received through our offices. We encourage you to notify us of your complaint as early as possible. We are interested only in helping you and the courts make the best decisions possible to meet the needs and interests of your children.

Family Court Services takes all customer complaints seriously. You are encouraged to notify the Family Court Services Manager of your complaint as early as possible.

FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS: If you want an investigation of and response to a complaint, you must submit the Court Customer Complaint Form in writing to the office of Family Court Services. You may submit attachments to the complaint form which must not exceed three pages, double spaced. Once the complaint has been investigated, a written response will be prepared and sent to the complaining court customer. The manager will respond 30 days after the response was submitted to the court if at all possible.


  1. Responsibility for making official orders about parenting arrangements and recommendations for investigation rests with the court. Only a judge can order a child custody or visitation arrangement, whether to grant a petition or any court ordered decision. All assessments and recommendations made to the court by an investigator take into consideration the best interest of the children or dependent adult, but they do not make court orders or decisions. The judge is the only person authorized to order a child custody or visitation arrangements.
  2. Family Court Services cannot reverse or change a court-ordered parenting plan. Only the judge can change the order. If you are concerned about the custody or visitation orders that were made by a judge, you must make your appeal directly to the court for a review of the case. Your attorney or staff at the Self Help Center can guide you on how to appeal a court decision.
  3. A complaint about how you were treated in Family Court Services or about the procedures used can be addressed directly by the Family Court Services office.
  4. Submitting a complaint through the use of the Court Customer Complaint Form is not an appeal for a review or reversal of court orders that have been made in your case. An appeal is a legal process over which Family Court Services has no control. Use of this form is, however, the proper way to express your grievances about the way in which Family Court Services handled your mediation, screening, assessment or evaluation case.
  5. All complaints must have a name and a signature. No anonymous complaints will be accepted.

Customer Complain Form


What happens if you don t respond to child custody papers in California? ›

If you don't respond, the court may make a decision based only on what the other parent says is best for your children. If you respond and participate, you will go to mediation or child custody recommending counseling to see if you can work out a parenting plan. If you cannot, the judge will make a decision.

How long does a father have to be absent to lose his rights in California? ›

Abandonment. If a parent has not had any contact with their child in at least six months and has made no effort to contact the child or exercise their parental rights, the court will consider this abandonment.

Can parents agree to no child support in California? ›

Parents may be under the impression that they have the power to determine how much and if child support is necessary; however, the state law and the courts have the final say in matters of child support. Parents cannot agree not to pay child support.

How far back can child support be claimed California? ›

How Long Can You Seek Payments of Retroactive Child Support in California? Retroactive child support payments can only be sought for the preceding three years. Even in an instance where the parent being ordered to pay has been absent going back to the birth of the child, only up to three years can be sought.

At what age can a child say they don t want to see a parent California? ›

In California, the courts consider and give weight to a child's preference when the child is “of sufficient age and ability to voice an intelligent opinion on custody or visitation.” At the age of fourteen, a child can state a custodial preference unless the court believes doing so would be detrimental.

What happens if respondent does not respond California? ›

If you don't file a Response within 30 days of getting these papers, your spouse can ask the court to decide the case without your input. This is called a default. The court could end your relationship or make orders about your property or the custody of your children without your input.

How to terminate parental rights of non-custodial parent in California? ›

There is no court form available to terminate parental rights. You will need to draft the required pleading either on your own or with the assistance of a private attorney. Generally, Family Code section 7820 covers termination of parental rights.

Can I leave the state with my child if there is no custody agreement California? ›

You must give the other parent (and their lawyer) written notice of your plans to move at least 45 days before the day you plan to move. A parent can only move a certain distance away without the other parent's written agreement that is agreed by the court.

What happens if the non-custodial parent misses visitation in California? ›

If the non-custodial parent missed visitation through no fault of their own, they might be awarded additional visitations to make up for the missed time. Court-mandated counseling for the parent who denied the visitation. Counseling for the parent whose visitation was denied, paid for by the custodial parent.

How much is the average child support in California? ›

A: The average amount of money paid in child support by non-custodial parents is about $430 a month for one child. The amount paid in child support per child may change based on the number of children being supported, the income of both parents, and the amount needed to raise the children in this particular dynamic.

Does a non biological father have to pay child support in California? ›

Only Legal Paternity Confers Responsibility for a Child

In California, only a child's legal father can be required to pay child support.

How does child support work if the father has no job in California? ›

In California, if a parent loses his or her source of income, it does not automatically end child support. Parents are still required to fulfill their child support obligations, even if they are unemployed.

How much back child support is a felony in California? ›

In California, consistent failure to pay child support can result in a felony charge. This is when the parent who should be paying support owes more than $2,500 in back payments.

What is the law in California for child support 2023? ›

Existing law, commencing January 1, 2023, requires a local child support agency to cease enforcement of child support arrearages and otherwise past due amounts owed to the state that the Department of Child Support Services or the local child support agency has determined to be uncollectible, as specified.

What is the max percentage child support can take in California? ›

This means that child support payments are based on both parents' income and how much more the higher-earning parent makes, but there is no law that caps child support at any specific dollar amount.

Can a father get 50 50 custody in California? ›

Dads are not automatically entitled 50-50 custody, or any custody order for that matter. Likewise, there is nothing in the family code that automatically grants custody to fathers solely on the basis that they are the dad. The standard the court uses during a divorce is the best interest of the child.

Can a 12 year old decide which parent to live with in California? ›

Law Office of Shelly Jean John March 27, 2023

In California, children have the right to express their preference of which parent they would like to live with. This is done through a process known as “child's preference.” However, this right is not extended to all children.

How far can a parent move with joint custody in California? ›

Generally, you can move with the children so long as the relocation doesn't interfere with your current custody arrangement. For courts, that's usually limited to a distance of 50 miles or less. (However, even a move 30 miles away could be disruptive depending on the circumstances.)

How long does a respondent have to answer in California? ›

If you don't respond by the deadline

If you don't file a response within 30 days of getting the Petition form, your spouse or domestic partner can ask for a default.

How long do you have to respond to an answer in California? ›

Generally, you have 30 days AFTER the date you are served to file a response with the court. The 30 days include weekend days and court holidays.

What is the 10 year marriage rule in California? ›

For marriages less than ten years, support will last half the length of the marriage. For marriages more than 10 years, there's no assumption about what's reasonable.

Can I file abandonment on my child's father in California? ›

Under California Family Code section 7822(a)(2) and (a)(3), you must show that one or both parents had the intent to abandon the child. You can show that there was intent to abandon the child by the legal parent, or parents, by using the surrounding facts of your case.

What rights does a non custodial parent have in California? ›

Non custodial parents must understand the law to understand their options. California law is simple - Both parents have a right to enjoy frequent and continuing contact with their children. California's laws ensure that contact occurs unless the children's best interest require otherwise.

What is considered child neglect in California? ›

General neglect is the negligent failure of a parent/guardian or caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred. Severe neglect refers to those situations of neglect where the child's health is endangered, including severe malnutrition.

How does a mother lose custody in California? ›

In California, a mother can lose custody of her child if she is an unfit parent. Serious neglect, violation of an existing custody order, child abuse, and emotional instability can be used as grounds to end a mother's custody rights.

Who has custody of a child when there is no court order in California? ›

Who Has Custody of a Child if There Is No Court Order in California? If a court order is not in effect, both parents have legal custody of the child—assuming that the father has already established legal paternity. If the father has not established paternity, the mother retains child custody.

Can a parent with full custody move California? ›

Under California Family Code Section 7501, a parent with primary physical custody of their child has a right to change the residence of the child. However, you cannot change the residence of your child without an agreement with the child's other parent, or the order of a family law court.

Can one parent keep a child from the other parent without court orders California? ›

When there are no court orders in effect, both parents have equal rights to their child(ren). It is unlawful however for one parent to conceal the child(ren) from the other parent, or for a parent not to provide some form of contact/visitation to the other parent.

Can keeping a child away from the other parent backfire? ›

But in addition to a contempt action, keeping a child from the other parent in violation of a court order can also backfire by losing custody of the child. This can happen even if the parents share near equal or equal parenting time, such as a 50/50 custody schedule.

What state has the highest child support? ›

In state-by-state rankings, Massachusetts ranks highest with the most expensive child support payments, averaging $1,187 per month. Virginia mandates the least support at $402 per month.

Do you pay child support if the mother makes more than the father in California? ›

Mothers are not exempt from California's child support laws. If the mother is a higher earner than the child's father, or if the father has custody, the mother will be expected to pay child support to contribute to the expenses of caring for the child.

Can you be put on child support without signing birth certificate in California? ›

If you are unmarried and your name is not on the birth certificate, you are not liable for making child support payments, however, you also have no rights to visitation with your child or legal custody of the child.

Does signing a birth certificate establish paternity in California? ›

However, the fact that a person's name appears on a birth certificate is not conclusive proof of paternity. Since there is no requirement that a father sign a birth certificate, a mother may list anyone whom she believes is, or wants to be, the father.

Can I go after my ex husband's new wife for child support in California? ›

According to section 4057.5(a)(1) of the California Family Code, a new spouse's income is not a legitimate reason to modify a parent's support obligation. Therefore, courts will not usually deviate from a previously ordered child support award if either parent remarries.

How do I avoid paying child support in California? ›

A: In general, you have to file a request in court to end the child support. This request is called a motion. If you have a case with the local child support agency, you may be able to get your child support ended without having to go to court.

How can I give up my parental rights and not pay child support in California? ›

Parental rights can only be terminated in California by court order. Parental Rights cannot be terminated by a parent who simply wants to avoid paying child support and is not being adopted by another parent. In most California Superior Courts, there are no court forms available to terminate parental rights.

How long do you go to jail for child support California? ›

A fine up to $1,000 and a sentence of up to five days in jail per count of contempt (typically, judges don't impose the fine, since that money could go toward past due child support) Community service (up to 120 hours) for a first or second contempt, and up to 240 hours for a third case of contempt.

How far back can you sue for back child support in California? ›

How Long Can You Seek Payments of Retroactive Child Support in California? Retroactive child support payments can only be sought for the preceding three years. Even in an instance where the parent being ordered to pay has been absent going back to the birth of the child, only up to three years can be sought.

Can child support seize your bank account in California? ›

The California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is authorized to collect past due child support by levying bank accounts, IRAs and financial securities. If you have a past due child support balance of $100.00 or greater your bank account may be levied.

Does child support increase if salary increases in California? ›

Because California uses a formula based on the income of both parents, if there is a significant change in the incomes of either parent, the support payments may increase or decrease if one spouse files for a modification of child support.

How much does a father have to pay in child support in California? ›

The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent.

Who pays child support in 50 50 custody California? ›

In a joint custody arrangement that is not split down the middle, the parent with the lesser percentage of time spent with children will typically be the one that has to pay child support. This is to ensure both parents actively continue to care for children's needs.

How much is child support in California for 50 50 custody? ›

How much child support do I have to pay if I have 50/50 custody in California? In California divorces where both parents share 50/50 custody of a child or children, child support payments generally amount to 15% of the difference between the parents' earnings.

Who gets back child support after the child is 18 in California? ›

After the child turns 18, the parent owed back child support can still collect the arrears. If collected, the parent owed support receives the payments, not the adult child.

What happens if one parent does not follow a court order in California? ›

In a contempt case, you ask the judge to enforce the order and make a finding that the other parent willfully disobeyed the court order. This is very complicated and can have serious consequences for the other parent, even jail time. Talk to a lawyer to get help with it. You can ask to change the order.

What do judges look for in child custody cases California? ›

Determining what's in the best interest of your child

To decide what is best for a child, the judge considers: The age and health of the child. The emotional ties between the parents and the child. The child's ties to their school, home, and community.

Is child custody mediation mandatory in California? ›

Mediation is required by the court because approximately 65% of the cases regarding child custody and visitation are resolved in mediation and there is no need for the parties to appear in court for an order. The process is very simple. Both parents meet with a third party mediator.

What is the penalty for contempt of court in California family court? ›

Penalties for Contempt of Court

Sometimes the accuser could also demand that the contemnor pays their attorney fees and court fees. The California Code of Conduct 1218(c) states that the contemnor faces charges of a fine up to $1000 and imprisonment of up to 5 days for each act of contempt.

What is the best evidence for child custody? ›

Keep copies of your communication and correspondence with the other parent. The evidence often offered in today's child custody trials includes copies of texts and e-mails of the parties. Other common evidence includes the parties' income information (often tax returns and paystubs), photos and sometimes calendars.

Who wins most custody battles? ›

Even though women tend to win most custody battles, getting there can be tough.

How long does it take for a judge to make a custody decision in California? ›

Courts usually have a tight schedule, and it'll take several trial dates before a child custody case is resolved. Most of the time, hearings get rescheduled due to various factors, and sometimes, a child custody case might take up to 18 months or more before it's concluded.

How much is mediation for child custody in California? ›

Mandatory court-appointed mediation through FCS is free. Private mediation services will require fees from the very start. Most private mediators charge by the hour and per party, and hourly fees will vary depending on your mediator. Hourly fees typically range anywhere between $100 - $1,000 per hour.

How do I prepare for child custody mediation in California? ›

Organize your paperwork and make copies to bring to the mediation. The mediator may not have time to look at everything in detail, but it's better to come prepared. Bring the following, if applicable: Diaries, calendars, school records, police reports, psychological evaluations, and medical records.

What constitutes a change of circumstances for child custody California? ›

Reasons a Judge Will Award a Child Custody Modification

Child is in danger (physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse) One or both parents' situations have changed. The non-custodial parent's work schedule changed. The non-custodial parent moved closer to the other parent.

What is the definition of an unstable parent? ›

Examples of unfit parents include those who have drug or alcohol problems and foster an unsafe living environment as a result or a parent with a mental illness who is unstable.

What makes a father unfit for custody in California? ›

What exactly is an unfit parent in the eyes of the law? The legal definition of an unfit parent is when the parent through their conduct fails to provide proper guidance, care, or support. Also, if there is abuse, neglect, or substance abuse issues, that parent will be deemed unfit.


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