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Family Law Facilitator / Self Help Center
 
 

 
       
 

 

 

The Family Law / Self Help Center is open daily by appointment. Those only requiring forms may receive information packets from the front desk during business hours and the office will review completed forms on an appointment basis.

CONTACTING US:

Address: 209 W. Yosemite Ave.. Madera, CA 93637

Phone: (559) 661-5161

FAX: (559) 675-4947

E-mail: facilitator@madera.courts.ca.gov

 

HOURS OF OPERATION:


Office Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Facilitator Attorney onsite 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Monday - Friday, except holidays


ACCESS FOR DISABLED:

Access available for persons with disabilities.

Directions to the Family Law / Self Help Center can be found here: Directions

 

STATE SELF HELP WEBSITE:

Information from the Administrative of the Office regarding Self Help can be found here http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp

Click here for a YouTube Video series on Self Help topics such as Civil Harrassment, Unlawful Detainer, and Small Claims

 

CONSERVATORSHIP HANDBOOK:

The Conservatorship Handbook is available for download and can be found here. The Conservatorship Handbook in Spanish can be found here.

 

LOCAL SERVICES PROVIDED:

Assistance is provided by appointment only; self-help center with informational packet and instructions with sample forms; mediation between parties; support calculations (DissoMaster); attorney referrals; secretarial referrals; and domestic violence referrals.

The facilitator DOES NOT fill out your forms and CANNOT represent you.

 

OFFICE OF THE FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR DISCLOSURE

The Family Law Facilitator is available to help both parents and all other parties who have questions about family law issues, including child support, spousal support, health insurance, and the availability of community resources to help families. The Family Law Facilitator can help you in preparing your own forms and give you general information. The Family Law Facilitator cannot go with you to court.

The Family Law Facilitator IS NOT YOUR LAWYER, but is a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Family Law Facilitator.

The Family Law Facilitator may provide information and services to the other party in your case.

Communications between you and the Family Law Facilitator are not confidential. You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation, or to be represented by an attorney in court.

The Family Law Facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

IF YOU ARE REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ASSIST YOU.

FAMILY LAW CENTER DISCLOSURE

The Self Help Attorney provides information and education only. They do not provide legal advice or represent you in court. The assistance at the Family Law Center is provided as a public service.

Many family law matters involve complex and valuable legal rights. Some rights cannot be adequately protected without the assistance of an attorney.

FAMILY LAW CENTER PROVIDES ASSISTANCE WITH:

  • Distribution of court documents relating to child support, spousal support, and establishing paternity.
  • Mediating child support between you and your former partner.
  • Answering child support, spousal support and health insurance related questions.
  • Calculating child support and spousal support using Dissomaster.
  • Communicating with the Family Support Division, Child Protective Services, Welfare Department, and other agencies regarding unusual problems.
  • Judgments and Orders After Hearings.

NONSUPPORT ASSISTANCE

Victim Services:

Victim Services
1225 Gill Ave, Madera, CA 93637
(559) 661-1000 or 24 Hrs. (800) 355-8989

Local Child Support Agency:

Department Of Child Support Services (DCSS)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1079
Madera, CA 93639

Office Address:

120 North Lake Street
Madera, CA 93638
Public Phone: (559) 675-7885
FAX: (559) 674-6593

 

WHAT CAN THE FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR DO FOR YOU ?

The Family Law Facilitator is available to help both parents and all other parties who have questions about family law issues, including child support, spousal support, health insurance, and the availability of community resources to help families. The Family Law Facilitator can help you in preparing your own forms and can give you general information. The Family Law Facilitator cannot go with you to court.

The Family Law Facilitator IS NOT YOUR LAWYER, but is a neutral person who does not represent any parent or party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Family Law Facilitator.

The Family Law Facilitator may provide information and services to the other party in your case.

Communications between you and the Family Law Facilitator are not confidential. You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, to have a confidential conversation, or to be represented by an attorney in court.

The Family Law Facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case. If you are represented by an attorney, this office will not be able to assist you.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING FACILITATOR/SERVICES

What is a family law facilitator?

A family law facilitator is an attorney licensed to practice law in California, who has been appointed by the superior court of a California county. Each superior court is required to maintain an Office of the Family Law Facilitator to assist self-represented persons with issues of child support, spousal support, and health insurance.

What does a family law facilitator do?

The basic duties of the family law facilitator related to child support, spousal support, and health insurance issues, include:

  • Providing educational materials;
  • Distributing court forms;
  • Providing assistance in completing forms;
  • Preparing child support guideline calculations; and
  • Providing referrals to the local child support agency, family court services, and other community agencies

The Superior Court of each county may designate additional duties of the family law facilitator. These will vary from county to county.

Can a family law facilitator represent me?

No. The family law facilitator does not represent you or the other party. The family law facilitator is a neutral person whose services are available to any person who is not represented by an attorney. Both parties in a case may receive assistance from the same family law facilitator. There is no attorney-client privilege between the family law facilitator and any person he or she assists. Matters discussed with the family law facilitator are not confidential. The family law facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

Is there any low-income requirement to get help from the family law facilitator?

No. The services of the family law facilitator are not based on financial need. Anyone who is not represented by an attorney may use the service.

What information should I have when I visit or contact the family law facilitator?

Bring your three most recent pay stubs, proof of unemployment income, and a copy of your most recent federal and state tax returns.

If you can, have all relevant court documents and papers with you when you visit or contact the family law facilitator, including the court case number(s). If there is already an order or judgment in your case(s), bring a copy of it. If you do not have your court documents, you can get copies from the court clerk’s office for a small copying fee (about .50-.75 cents per page). If you do not know your case number, there are public computers available in the Self Help Office to search for cases and case numbers.

For help with child support, spousal support, or preparing forms to request a waiver of court filing fees, bring with you:

  • Your three most recent pay stubs or the equivalent (such as bank statements showing automatic deposit of your paycheck, proof of unemployment income, other proof of income and expenses from self-employment, and so on);
  • A copy of your most recent federal/state tax returns.

 

Will the family law facilitator in my county assist me with a case that is in another county?

Basic forms, information, and procedures related to child support issues are available at any family law facilitator location.

Each superior court may have its own local rules and procedures depending on the resources available. Generally, the family law facilitator in the county where the action is filed or will be filed is best equipped to explain local procedures to you.

Will foreign-language interpreters be available to translate for me?

Some family law facilitator offices may have bilingual staff who can assist when available, but it is best to bring a person with you who speaks your native language.

To find a family court facilitator office by county, go to: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost/flf.htm


THE BASICS OF CHILD SUPPORT FOR INCARCERATED PARENTS

Taken from a pamphlet issued by
Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Courts


How is child support calculated?

The California Family Code (sections 4050 – 4076) establishes a statewide guideline for child support. The amount of child support ordered by the court depends on:

  • Number of children
  • Percentage of time share with the children
  • Income, earnings, or earning capacity of each parent
  • Tax filing status
  • Support of children from other relationships
  • Health insurance expenses
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Child care and uninsured health expenses
  • Other factors

The court will order that health insurance be maintained, if available, at no or reasonable cost through the employment of the parent(s). The court will also order, as additional child support, reasonable uninsured health-care costs and child-care costs related to employment or to education or training for employment.

The child support order may also include the cost of travel for visitation, educational expenses, and other special needs.

When will the child support order end?

Child support payments are usually court-ordered until the child reaches the age of 18 years and completes high school, or age 19 if the child is still in high school full time and not self-supporting. Disabled adult children may be entitled to be supported by both parents beyond this period.

What paper do I file if I am served with a Summons and Complaint or a Petition?

You must file the Answer to a Complaint or the Response to the Petition at the court clerk’s office within 30 days after you receive the papers, or a default judgment will be entered against you. You must pay the required filing fee or submit a completed Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs form with your papers. (Sending your Answer or Response to the child support agency without filing the original with the court clerk will not protect you.) You must have someone over 18 years old who is not a party to your case serve your Answer or Response on the other party and the local child support agency and file a Proof of Service with the court clerk.

The Court “presumed” that I earned a certain amount of money. How can I change the order?

If a default judgment for child support was based on a “presumed income,” you have one year from the date of the first collection of money by the local child support agency to file a Notice of Motion to Cancel (Set-Aside) Support Order Based on Presumed Income.

The court may, where appropriate, set aside the original support order and recalculate the guideline amount based on your actual income, or possibly your income earning ability, for the period of time for which a support judgment was entered.

If you are not successful in setting aside an order for child support, you may also seek to change the order by filing a Request for Order (form FL-300) for modification of child support.

How can I avoid the interest charges?

You can contact the local child support agency (LCSA) to determine the interest and arrears (past due support). You may also file a request for a court hearing to determine the arrears and interest. In the meantime, you may also try to negotiate an acceptable payment plan with the LCSA.

Which agency in California is responsible for child support enforcement?

The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the single state agency responsible for child support enforcement. The local offices in every county are called local child support agency (LCSA) or local Department of Child Support Services.

Toll-free DCSS number: 1-866-249-0773
TDD: 1-866-223-8529
www.childsup.cahwnet.gov/county_locations.htm

Who can I contact if the local child support agency (LCSA) does not respond to my request for assistance?

You can contact the ombudsperson of your local child support agency (LCSA), who can:

  • Help you resolve issues with your child support case,
  • Explain your rights and responsibilities, and
  • Tell you the ways you can get child support services.

Call 1-866-249-0773 (toll-free) to find the ombudsperson in the county handling your child support case.

Do I still have to pay child support when I am unemployed or incarcerated?

Yes. You continue to owe the monthly child support plus 10 percent interest on any past-due support until the court changes the order. To change the child support amount, you must file a request for a court hearing.

NOTE: The court cannot change your child support retroactively. The earliest date the court may change your support order is the date you file your court papers or the date of your court hearing.

Where do I get the forms to request a hearing to change my child support court order?

Court forms are available at every county court clerk’s office in California. Child support forms are also available at the Office of the Family Law Facilitator. Always provide a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want any forms to be mailed to you.

Court forms can be printed from the California Judicial Branch Web site:
www.courts.ca.gov/forms/

Is there any filing fee to request a hearing?

Yes. If you receive public assistance, have low income, or no income, you can ask the court to waive any court filing or copy fees by completing forms from the list of forms below.

How can I get a copy of the past court order or other court papers filed in my case?

You must contact the court clerk in the courthouse where your case is filed to get copies of your file.

Provide your name, the other party’s name, the type of case, the case number (if available), and the appropriate date of the court order or document requested. There is a photocopy charge unless you have no income or qualify as low income. Ask the court clerk for a fee waiver application form to waive this photocopy fee.

What forms do I need to file to change my child support order?

There are many different forms that you may use. Here are the typical forms you will need to fill out for each child support order you want to change:

  • Request for Order (form FL-300). Explain all the reasons why you are asking to change the court order. (For example, state when you became unemployed, why you are no longer employed, why you cannot pay the court-ordered support, why you cannot attend the court hearing, and what change you are asking the court to make in the current order.)
  • Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150)
  • Request for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (form FW-001)
  • Order on Waiver of Court Fee (form FW-003)

Complete and sign (in black or blue ink) the above forms.

Make three (3) copies of each document. (Always keep one copy for your records!)

File your forms with the proper court in the county where you owe child support.

To file with the court by mail, send the original and two (2) copies to the court clerk, along with a self-addressed stamped return envelope and a cover letter asking the court clerk to file your forms.

When the court clerk returns the “Filed” stamped copy to you, find someone over 18 years old, and not a party in your case, to serve your documents. You cannot serve your own documents. There are two ways to serve documents: (1) by personal delivery, or (2) by first-class mail. The person who serves the documents must complete a Proof of Service and file it with the court clerk.

Most motions are to be served 16 court days prior to the hearing; plus an additional 5 calendar days if mailed.

What paper do I file if I am served with a Request for Order?

You must file and serve a Responsive Declaration to Request for Order at the court clerk’s office at least 9 court days before the hearing date, or the court may grant the requested relief mentioned in the papers.

Where can I get free or low-cost information or help with my child support questions?

Free self-help information is available from the Office of the Family Law Facilitator (FLF) in every county, where you can get help with child support, spousal support, and health insurance issues. The FLF can:

  • Provide educational materials.
  • Provide court forms.
  • Provide assistance with court forms.
  • Prepare guideline child support calculations.
  • Provide referrals to the local child support agency (LCSA), family court services, and other community agencies.

The FLF is not your attorney and does not represent either party. A FLF may assist both parties in the same case. The FLF is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

There is no attorney-client privilege and no confidential relationship between any person and the FLF.

You should contact your own attorney if you want personalized advice or strategy, a confidential conversation, or representation in court.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost/flffaq.htm

Where on the Internet can I get information about self-help in family law matters?

www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp/
www.childsup.cahwnet.gov/cshandbook.htm
www.youthlaw.org/


 
 
 
     
       
     



 
 

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