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Yreka, CA 96097
Phone: (530) 842-0197 or 0157
Fax: (530) 842-0198
Email: Facilitator@siskiyou.courts.ca.gov
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FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q.†††††††† How much does is cost to see the Facilitator?

A.†††††††† There is no charge for the services of the Family Law Facilitator.

Q.†††††††† What matters can the Family Law Facilitator assist with?

A.†††††††† The Facilitator can assist only in the following areas; child support, family law and related areas, small claims, unlawful detainer lawsuits (for tenants only) step-parent adoption, domestic violence, civil harassment restraining orders, name change and guardianship. The Facilitator does not assist with criminal, dependency, or general civil matters.

Q.†††††††† Why canít I have a private appointment with the Facilitator?

A.†††††††† The goal of the Facilitator is to provide service in a timely manner to all who need assistance with a matter covered by the Facilitator. We learned that the best way to meet the needs of our customers is through our walk-in Self-Help Clinics.With appointments you might have to wait several weeks to see the Facilitator. The Facilitator may schedule individual appointments if s/he determines that the matter cannot be handled in the clinic setting.

Q.†††††††† Why do I have to fill out paperwork each time I come in?

A.†††††††† The law requires that each person receiving the free services of the Facilitator sign a disclosure form, stating that he or she understands the nature of our services and that there is no attorney-client relationship. We must also collect statistical data so that the extent and effectiveness of our services can be reviewed for funding and other purposes.

Q:†††††††† Why canít I just get my questions answered over the phone?

A:†††††††† In order to give you accurate information, the Facilitator will usually need to review the documents filed in your case. This is only possible when you come to the clinic fully prepared with all of your court documents. The Facilitatorís Office sees many people weekly. It is difficult to timely return telephone calls.

Q.†††††††† What does "In Pro Per" or "Pro Se" mean?

A.†††††††† It means that you are representing yourself in your legal matter.Since you are acting as your own attorney, you have sole responsibility for managing your case, meeting deadlines, and providing the

necessary documents and information to the court in the proper form.

Q.†††††††† Should I hire an attorney to represent me?

A.†††††††† It is usually helpful to have an attorney. An attorney may be able to help you argue your case more effectively, in your written documents, as well as in the courtroom. If your case is contested or involves complicated legal issues, an attorney can be especially helpful. Your own attorney can give you strategic advice, investigate for you and file custom-prepared paperwork for you. The Family Law Facilitator can only give you generalized legal information and assist you in filling out court forms. If you must travel a long distance to make court appearances, it may actually be more cost-effective to hire a local attorney. The Facilitatorís Office may not be able to assist you with everything needed in your particular case. For example, if you need an order dividing a retirement plan, you will need to have the help of a private attorney. Some attorneys will provide limited representation that can save you money.

Q:†††††††† I filed my divorce papers six months ago. Is my divorce now final?

A:†††††††† Your divorce is not final until the court enters your Judgment. You are not single, and free to remarry, until your judgment has been entered and it has been at least six months since summons was served on the Respondent. The date of termination of your marital status should be shown on your Judgment. You may not remarry until that date. You will be required to fill out additional papers to

obtain your judgment. Nothing will happen automatically.

Q:†††††††† How do I change a custody or visitation order? How long will it take?

A:†††††††† You may ask the court to modify the order by filing with the court a Notice of Motion or Order to Show Cause, with the required Application for Order and Supporting Declaration. Sometimes the court will not modify a previous order unless you can show a ďsubstantial change of circumstancesĒ. Your first court date will usually be set for about a month from the date you are ready to serve the other party. You may ask the Judge/Commissioner for the orders you are seeking at your first hearing, but you will probably be referred to mediation and given another court date. If you do not reach agreement in mediation, you mayhave more court appearances, or even a contested evidence hearing. The entire process can take several months. The court may make interim orders while the mediation process is pending.

Q:†††††††† What if I need emergency orders?

A:†††††††† In a true emergency, you may be able to obtain orders right away, by following the courtís "ex parte application" procedure. Our court hears "ex parte" matters Monday through Friday at 1:15 p.m. You will generally be required to give notice (often by telephone or fax) to the other party, by 10:00 a.m. the day before the hearing. The court also must be notified by 12:00 p.m. the day before the hearing. The notice must inform the other party of the date and time of the ex parte proceeding, and the type of order that you are seeking. Notice is only excused if there is a risk of ďirreparable harmĒ, violence, or if notice to the other party would make any orders meaningless. Our court requires that you complete our local form "Declaration re Ex Parte Notice" whenever you are asking the court to make an ex parte order.

Q:†††††††† How do I get information to the judge? Should I send a letter?

A:†††††††† No, donít send a letter. A letter would be considered an ex parte communication and is not allowed. The letter will be retained in the courtís file but will not be acted upon. You may usually file a declaration under penalty of perjury. Any declaration submitted to the court must be served on the other party or parties, and a proof of service must be filed with the court. If a motion or Order to Show Cause is pending, the declaration will be reviewed by the judge when he or she reviews your file in preparation for the hearing. If there is no motion pending, you will probably need to file one if you want the judge to act on the information you are submitting.

Q:†††††††† My "ex" is not paying the court-ordered child support. What should I do?

A:†††††††† The state Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) will provide child support enforcement services to you at no cost. The resources available to DCSS in locating an absent parent and enforcing a child support order are greater than those available to individuals or private attorneys. If DCSS is collecting your child support they can request an Earnings Assignment Order from the court. The employer withholds the court-ordered amount from the other parentís wages, sends it to DCSS, and the State Distribution Unit will send a check to you. DCSS can also record an Abstract of Support Judgment in the county in which the obligor parent resides or may own property. This creates a lien on any real property owned by the obligor parent in that county. If you do not wish to use the DCSSí services, you may obtain an Earnings

Assignment Order yourself. The Family Law Facilitator can assist you. There may be other methods of child support enforcement. You should discuss this with the Facilitator or a representative of DCSS at their local office.

Q:††††††† How do I get my child support lowered?

A:†††††††† If there has been a substantial change of circumstances, such as an involuntary and permanent change in employment, you may seek a change in your child support by filing a Notice of Motion or Order to Show Cause, together with the required Application for Order and Supporting Declaration, and an Income and Expense Declaration. You may wish to ask the Facilitator to calculate an estimated child support for you, based on the relative incomes of the parents and the amount of time they spend with the children according to the statewide guideline for child support. You may wish to do this before you file a motion. In some cases, asking to modify child support can have unexpected results.

Q:†††††††† If I give up my parental rights, will I still have to pay child support?What if I never see my child?

A:†††††††† A true termination of parental rights is usually ordered only in cases in which someone else is prepared to adopt the child. Termination of parental rights means that you are no longer considered to be the parent of the child, and are no longer responsible for the child. The court will generally not order

a termination of your parental rights, if that would leave the child with only one parent responsible for the childís care and support. California law requires you to provide financial support for your child(ren) whether or not you visit the child(ren). In fact, the less you visit your child, the higher your support is likely to be.








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