Family & Child Custody
Family Law Overview
Family Law Court has jurisdiction over a wide range of cases that deal with Marriage, Child Custody, Child Visitation and Support. The party who starts the case is usually called the Petitioner and the party who did not start the case is usually known as the Respondent.
Family Law Case Types
- Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
- Dissolution of Domestic Partnership
- Legal Separation
- Nullity (Annulment of Marriage or Domestic Partnership)
- Custody and Visitation
- Department of Child Support Services, Child Support Actions
- Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence - Restraining Orders (RO)
- Establish Parental Relationship (Paternity), Petitions for Custody and Support
- Guardianship of a Minor
- Termination of Parental Rights
- Marriage or Emancipation of Minors
Hearing Location and Time
Family law matters are heard at the Monterey Courthouse in Departments 16 and 17. Child Support is heard at the Marina Courthouse (Department 21).
- Child Support actions are set on Tuesdays in Department 21 at the Marina Courthouse.
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders are set on Thursdays beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 16 at the Monterey Courthouse.
- Adoptions are set on Mondays at 8:30 a.m. in Department 13 at the Monterey Courthouse.
- Guardianships are set on Wednesdays at 1:30pm in Department 13 at the Monterey Courthouse.
- Family Law and Motion hearings are set at the Monterey Courthouse on the following days depending on the case number
- Cases ending in a 9 or 0 are heard on Thursdays at 1:30 in Department 16
- Cases ending in an odd number (other than 9) are heard on Fridays in Department 16
- Cases ending in an even number (other than 0) are heard on Thursdays in Department 17
As always, the court encourages all parties to meet and confer on all issues. If all parties agree in writing, you may request that the court rule on your filed noticed motion without a hearing on the Thursday and Friday's Request for Order calendars. All interested parties will be required to waive the hearing in writing by submitting a stipulation. After the stipulation is processed, the court will determine whether the filed motion is appropriate for ruling without a hearing.
Family Law forms are accessible as follows
- Monterey County Superior Court website for Local Court Forms.
- Family Court Services Forms (Mediation, Fact Based Inquiry, Co-parenting etc...)
- Any court location, for purchase
Most filings require a filing fee. Filing fees must be paid at the time of filing You may ask the court to waive the filing fee if your household income falls below certain guidelines. To apply for a Fee Waiver you must complete and file a Fee Waiver Form , for more information see FW-001-Info . A current schedule of fees can be viewed at the following link: Fee Schedule
Preparing for your court hearing:
- Read all your court papers. Make sure you understand what each form asks and what the other party has written.
- There will be many cases set and heard during each court session and your time to speak to the judicial officer may be limited. If you want to provide information or evidence, consider filing declarations or exhibits ahead of your hearing with any information or evidence you believe will help explain your requests or prove your claims.
- Make an outline listing what you want and why. Be ready to quickly explain why the judicial officer should approve each item you are asking for, or why the judicial officer should not approve something the other party is requesting and what you want the judicial officer to order instead.
- Make organized, short notes to summarize your point of view.
- Make a list of short responses to each point the other party made in their papers.
- Arrive early for your hearing.
- If you get nervous in court, look at your notes: check your list for each request or response you want the judicial officer to hear.
- If you are asking for court orders, make sure that the judicial officer makes an order on each request on your list. If a request you made is not mentioned as the judicial officer makes orders, remind the judicial officer as soon as you can.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Speak only when it is your turn, and not when another person is already speaking.
- If a party in your case is using an interpreter, speak in short sentences, and wait for the interpreter to finish before speaking, again.
- Do not bring children to court with you or have them in the room with you when appearing on Zoom unless you have been instructed to do so by the judicial officer or a court official.
- If you are appearing by Zoom, you must act as if you are in the courtroom; do not eat or drink, drive your car, or engage in activities that would be distracting, such as laying down, moving around, or making facial expressions or gestures while someone else is speaking. Keep your microphone on mute until the judicial officer asks you to speak. If another adult is in the room with you, you must have that person identify themselves when the judicial officer requests it.
To appear by Zoom, you may need to file paperwork ahead of the hearing to be approved. Please see more information about Appearing by Zoom.