Families & Children

Learn about various topics affecting families and children. For each topic, find instructions, forms, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Custody & Parenting Time (Visitation)
Understand the law in custody and parenting time (visitation) cases, how to make agreements between the parents, ask for a custody order, respond to a request, and change or enforce an order. Read information on custody mediation and how domestic violence affects children and custody rights.

Child Support
Learn how child support works, how to make agreements between the parents, ask for a child support order, respond to a request, and change, pay or collect a child support court order. Find where to get help, which court forms you need and read answers to frequently asked questions.

This section explains how parentage (paternity) works, how to establish parentage for a child, and how to dispute parentage if you believe you are not a child’s parent. It includes forms and answers to frequently asked questions.

Child Abuse & Neglect
Review basic information on child abuse and neglect and the juvenile dependency court system that handles those cases as well as guardianship cases in juvenile court and information on de facto parents.

Learn about guardianship, which is when someone who is not a parent of a child gets custody of that child, with explanations of your legal options, how to ask for a guardianship, and how to end a guardianship.

Juvenile Delinquency 
Basic information about children being arrested and the juvenile delinquency system that handles those cases.

How to adopt a child or a stepchild with details about the different types of adoptions, and information about how to file for an adoption.

If you are under 18 and want to become emancipated, this section will explain what requirements you must meet. It also has a how-to guide for you to fill out and file the papers in court, and the forms you will need for your case. 

Families Change
This is an online guide for families going through separation and divorce. With three versions – one for parents, one for children, and another for teens and pre-teens – it complements the legal information found here.

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Orientation to Family Court Mediation and Child Custody Recommending

Length: 30 minutes, 40 seconds.

This video describes the mediation and child custody recommending counseling court process.

Click the Full Screen button in the bottom right corner for the full video screen and closed captioning

California Self-Help and Family Law Facilitator Locations

Interactive Google map listing of Self Help Centers and Family Law Facilitators
Click for interactive Google map listing of Self Help Centers and Family Law Facilitator locations, or click for a printer-friendly directory.