Handling a court case can be difficult and confusing. Please know that there are people who want to help.
All parentage court cases are heard in the
The Family Law Center is where you can:
- Buy court forms.
- File your forms.
- Get help from the Family Law Facilitator.
- Attend all court hearings related to this case.
- File any paperwork needed after the hearing is over.
To view your own parentage files:
In Contra Costa County, court case files are kept by the County Recorder's Office.
Mailing address for the Clerk's Office and the Recorder's Office: P.O. Box 350, Martinez, CA 94553
The Recorder's Office (Property and Vital Records) is located at:
730 Las Juntas, Martinez, CA 94553.
The Clerk's Office is located at:
822 Main St., Martinez, CA 94553.
For information call: (925) 646-2360.
NOTE: The information in parentage cases is private. The only people who can look in the court files are the parents in the case.
If you are either the mother or father in the case and you want to look at the file, you need to bring a driver's license or government identification card with you.
Once paternity has been legally established, to add the second parent's name to the child's birth certificate, the parents must:
- Request a copy of Form VS 22 (Application to Amend a Birth Record-Acknowledgment of Paternity) from their county's local Registrar of Births and Deaths.
- Complete the form, make a copy of it for their own files and give the original to their county's Registrar, along with the required fee.
In Contra Costa County, California, the Registrar of Births and Deaths is located at the:
Public Health Department
826 Main St., Martinez, CA 94553.
Telephone: (925) 646-2508.
The Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) is located at:
50 Douglas Drive, Suite 100
Tel: (925) 957-7300, or toll-free at (866) 244-5382
The Department of Child Support Services is where you can get help to:
- Establish paternity (fatherhood).
- Open a new child support case.
- Locate parents.
- Request medical support orders from the court.
- Enforce child support orders.
- Modify child support orders.
Services NOT offered by the DCSS:
- Restraining Orders.
- Establishing spousal or partner support orders.
- Enforcing spousal or partner support orders that are not included with child support.
Get more information about the California State Department of Child Support Services.
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.
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 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 have legal self-help books and online resources.
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.
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.
For some suggestions about where to get other help, go to the California Court's Self-Help Center or check out one of the sites below:
Resources in California
- All Superior Courts in California by County
- State Bar of California's Find an Attorney Web site
- Where to write for vital records
- Legal information for military families
Resources Across the USA
- Find government services and information by topic
- Find organizations in other states that provide free legal assistance to eligible clients.
Resources Around the Globe
- Find organizations in other countries that provide free legal assistance to eligible clients.