Resources: Understanding the Family Law Process

Hiring an Attorney: Understanding Family Law and the Legal Process

Parenting Tools and Child Custody Resources for Divorcing Couples

Create an atmosphere where the children of separated or divorcing parents feel safe, and confident in their care.

  • Child Custody Mediation in California – A free resource provided through the California Family Court Services Department encouraging parents to discuss their upcoming parenting plans for custodial care and visitation.
  • California Children’s Services – Gain access to a state-run program where children under the age of 21 who suffer from special healthcare requirements and diseases can get the help, they need to enjoy proper, routine medical care.
  • Alameda County Health Department: California Children’s Services – Review statewide advocacy programs that combine private health insurance with state-funded Medi-Cal recipients that encourage families to seek the proper healthcare for their children when personal payment is not an option due to income restraints.
  • Parent Education Referral List, for High Conflict Families and – Two separate lists of private and public sector mental health agencies, professionals, and programs to help divorced or separated parents resolve conflicts to better serve their children’s needs.
  • Family and Children: Parenting Plans – A court designed resource to help Parents in different decision-making approaches to time-sharing, holidays and vacation schedules, and transportation arrangements.
  • The Child Care Resource Center – An established resource in the Los Angeles area that incorporates well-being into communities by effectively connecting education, community leaders, professionals, and parents that share the common goal of promoting quality childcare.
  • Kid’s Turn – Safe and Sound – A workshop to help children & parents through parental separation & divorce putting children in the center of healing, not in the middle of conflict.
  • Family Resource Centers Network of California – Connect with one of the 47 Early Start Family Resource Centers that serve children with developmental disabilities while connecting parents to the educational resources they need to gain access to out-of-reach care.
  • Children’s Home Society of California – A superior tool to broaden family support services in early education, community activism, child-care, and development trends.
  • The Pro Child Way – Discover a nurturing and open approach to co-parenting after separation or divorce by focusing on the children’s needs first.
  • Connections for Children – Explore alternatives to quality child-care, education, and support regardless of income levels.
  • Up to Parents – A completely free resource to assist separated or divorced parents with keeping the peace in their children’s lives.
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway – An assured source for protecting children from abuse while implementing family group decision making and preserving healthy lifestyles for everyone in the home.
  • The Children’s Rights Council – Discover resources that encourage shared parenting, prevention of child neglect and abuse, and the legislative initiatives to improve the legal process for those who have suffered from less than stellar care.
  • Government Agency for Child Care – A helpful source for family members and grandparents who are charged with the care and housing of children whose parents are no longer their primary caregiver.
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children – Gain access to information on CASA volunteers who represent the best interests of children who have suffered from neglect or abuse in their temporary or permanent homes, and in the courtrooms.
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Discover important methods on identifying exploited children, reporting missing children, and preventing and protecting the children in your community from potentially unsafe individuals and circumstances.
  • The Child Quest International Guide – An informative source for protecting children and teenagers from unsafe internet activity, including falling victim to scams, predators, and illicit, potentially damaging online behavior.

California Child Support Resources

  • California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) – Create an online account to monitor the receipt of child support payments, make payments, locate an office, or contact a DCSS employee.
  • Local Child Support Agencies in California by County – Find your local child support agency by county, and make a payment, contact their office, or search frequently asked questions to get answers quickly.

Domestic Violence Support and Information

  • California Partnership to End Domestic Violence – Understand domestic violence guidelines in the State of California and how the partnership provides advocacy and expertise to help form policies to protect the abused.
  • California Victim Compensation Board – Victims who have suffered physical abuse in domestic violence cases can gain access to financial restitution from their abusers that is collected through fines, penalty assessments and federal funds.
  • American Bar Association, Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence – Discover the legal approach by attorneys across the nation to providing additional access to justice for domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault victims.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline – Gain immediate access to domestic violence advocates who can confidentially provide safety instructions, resources, and tips for identifying an unhealthy relationship or discovering initiatives to escape dangerous relationships.

Military Divorce Resources

  • Congressional Research Service: Military Benefits for Former Spouses – Search legislative and policy issues pertaining to the benefits of military personnel and their former spouses.
  • United States National Library of Medicine; National Institute of Health: Military Divorces – Research the potential physical, emotional, and behavioral health outcomes associated with current and veteran military personnel who are experiencing separation or divorce.

Tax Information and Financial Resources for Divorcing Couples

  • Internal Revenue Service, Spousal Resources – Discover the actual tax liabilities for spouses after separation, and terms of equitable relief that are available for innocent spouses.
  • Property and Debt in a Divorce or Legal Separation – Understand property possession, including more than houses and cars, but bank accounts, stocks, and pension plans, and how their ownership is established upon legal separation or divorce.
  • Spousal/Partner Support: California Courts – Learn whether you are eligible for spousal/partner support after a separation or divorce and understand how it is calculated based on your personal circumstances.
  • Financial and Legal Rights within a Marriage: State of California – Tips for avoiding legal and financial pitfalls during a marriage to create a smoother transition into separation or divorce.
  • Enforceable Agreements: Prenuptial – Learn how an existing prenuptial agreement becomes enforceable upon separation or divorce proceedings.

Tax Information and Financial Resources for Divorcing Couples

  • Evictions, Housing, and Foreclosure Information: California Courts – Access forms, instructions, and frequently asked questions regarding evictions, foreclosures, and security deposits in California.
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – Find rental assistance, information on home buying and financing, or apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity – Protect yourself and your family from housing discrimination, report offenders, or understand more about the enforcing policies that protect the rights and opportunities for all, despite their income level, age, race, or religion.
  • State of California Employment Development Department – Search California’s premier source for connecting job seekers in the state with potential employers, or file an unemployment, paid family leave or disability insurance claim online.
  • Federal Emergency Management Association – Apply for financial assistance in federally declared disaster areas in California.
  • The US Department of Education – Research financial grants, loans, laws, and guidance to choosing the best path to advanced education opportunities.
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics: United States Prosecutors’ Offices – View data collected from more than 2,300 prosecutor’s offices around the United States.

Government and Legal Association Tools: National, State, and Local Family Resources

  • Superior Court of California, Family Law in Alameda County – Legal resources for separation and divorce, child custody and support, paternity suits, spousal/partner support, and domestic violence cases in Alameda County.
  • Establishing Parentage and Paternity: California Courts – Establish or dispute paternity through the courts to seek or deny child support claims and payments going forward.
  • The Basics of Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment: California Courts – Understand the diverse ways to end a marriage, including annulments, summary dissolutions, filing for divorce, and responding to the issuance of divorce papers by a spouse.
  • California Courts Self Help Center – Learn about child custody, parenting, and visitation, including mediation alternatives to court appearances after a separation or divorce.
  • Administration for Children and Families – Access partnerships with local and state service providers to empower the independence of family health and human services in underserved communities.
  • The Administration for Community Living – Discover initiatives that allow people with disabilities to live in healthy environments, with people who provide the proper guidance and care to support their development fully.

Getting to Know Your Local Government Officials

Engaging local government authorities provides the opportunity to keep up with legislative changes that may affect your family in the future.

  • California State Government – Gain access to information and contacts within the election offices, correction departments, motor vehicle offices, and consumer protection offices within the state.
  • State of California Governor – Search primary contact information for the current Governor of the State of California or send a message to the office directly from the website.
  • State of California Senators – Locate contact information for current and previous Senators in the State of California, or research their voting habits and statistics throughout their tenures.
  • State of California House of Representatives – Discover names and contact information for the 53 California Representatives who represent the voting public and dictate public policy.
  • California Legislative Information – Search legislatives codes, bills, and publications from current and previous legal sessions in California that the Senators and Representatives participate in on behalf of the voters.