Child Custody

Resources

Handling a court case can be difficult and confusing. Please know that there are people who want to help.

Contra Costa County Court Locations, Maps and Directions

In Contra Costa County, all family law cases are heard in the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Center.

The Family Law Center is where you:

  • Buy court forms.
  • File forms.
  • Get help from the Family Law Facilitator.
  • Attend court hearings in your family law case.
  • File paperwork after the hearing is over.

Family Law Facilitator Hours:

Martinez:

Monday through Thursday, 8 am - 2 pm.

Richmond:

Mon.,Thurs. and Fri., 8 am - 12 pm and 1 pm - 3 pm.

If you and your spouse or partner are breaking up, how you talk to each other and to your children can make a big difference. Try to think about the other parent as a business partner. Acting "businesslike" might help get your mind off the pain and stress so you can focus better on your children.

Here are some tips:

  • Be polite, just like you would be at work.
  • Stay on the subject. Focus on doing what is best for your child.
  • Control your emotions, just like you would do at work.
  • Be clear and specific when you talk to the other parent. Write things down and keep businesslike records of important agreements.
  • Keep your promises. Your children need to be able to trust and rely on you. This is very important right now.
  • Watch the words you use when you talk about separation or divorce.

If you are parents who have decided to end your marriage and want to help your children during this difficult time, there are many resources available. One website that might be helpful to you is: http://www.kidsturn.org/.

Child Custody and Visitation
Family Court Services provides mediation for child custody and visitation disputes.

Family Law Facilitators
Family law facilitators can give you information about family law cases. They can also help you fill out forms, help you figure out support amounts, and refer you to community agencies that help parents and children.

Free Legal Workshops and Clinics
The Court offers free legal workshops for domestic violence restraining orders, guardianship, elder law and small claims cases.

Probate Facilitator
The Probate Facilitator can answer questions by telephone or email, or in workshops. Get a list of workshops.

Small Claims Legal Advisor
The Small Claims Advisor gives free legal information about small claims cases.

Legal aid gives free legal services to people who are low-income.

Non-profits have other types of support like counseling and resources.

Here are some legal aid and other non-profit groups in Contra Costa County:

Bay Area Legal Aid
BayLegal provides legal information and representation.

Contra Costa County Crisis Center: 211 Data Base
The Crisis Center has 24-hour crisis lines, an information and referral program, and other services.

Contra Costa Senior Legal Services
Senior Legal Services provides free legal services to people who are sixty years of age or older.

Legal Services for Children
Legal Services for Children represents children and youth in many types of cases, including guardianship.

STAND! For Families Free of Violence
STAND! has many domestic violence prevention and treatment programs.

LawHelpCA.org can help you find other legal help.

Department of Child Support Services (DCSS)
DCSS establishes and collects child support.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
The DMV website can help you find the nearest office.

District Attorney Office
The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes people who break the law.

Public Defender
Public Defenders represent defendants in criminal, delinquency, and family law contempt cases.

Public Law Library
The Law Library can help you complete legal research.

Public Libraries
Public libraries have legal self-help books and online resources.

Sheriff's Department
The Sheriff's Department helps enforce some court judgments.

Victim Witness Assistance Program
VWAP is a program to support victims and witnesses after a crime, including domestic violence. The program guides victims through the legal system. It also directs them to services.

Vital Records
The County's Clerk Recorder Office has copies of birth, death, marriage and divorce records.

Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) has many services, including:

Lawyer Referral Service
For a small fee, you can be referred to a lawyer.

Limited Scope Representation
After discussing your case, you and the lawyer decide which parts of your case you can do yourself and which parts really need to be handled by the lawyer.

Moderate Means Program
If you qualify, you can be referred to an attorney who has agreed to charge a reduced hourly rate.

Resolving Disputes Together
Uses expert staff to help resolve conflicts without legal action.

Congress of Neutrals
Offers many services to help resolve conflicts.

Family Law Alternative Resolution Program (FLARe)
Uses qualified attorneys to listen to both parties, and hopefully resolve their family law dispute.