Going to Court
Hearings involving the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) are held in Department 52 of the Contra Costa County Superior Court via Zoom or conference call. All parties will receive a hearing notice with instructions on how to log in to their hearing on Zoom, or if they do not have video capability, to call in. You do not need to appear in person at the courthouse unless the court requires you to do so.
To file legal documents for your matter, or for an upcoming hearing, use the drop box outside the courthouse located at the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Center at 751 Pine Street in Martinez, California or walk them into the filing window from 8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M. Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want a copy of your document(s) returned to you with verification of filing. Be sure to serve DCSS with a copy; in most cases when there is sufficient time to do so, DCSS will serve the other party with your paperwork.
Serve DCSS with legal documents related to your hearing in Department 52 by any of these methods:
- First class mail to DCSS, 50 Douglas Drive, Suite 100, Martinez, CA 94553
- Put them in the document drop box in front of the building at 50 Douglas Drive, Martinez, California, or walk them into our lobby during business hours
- Scan and email them to [email protected]
- Fax to 925-335-3630
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I provide to the Court, DCSS, and the Other Party in preparation for my hearing?
- Income information
- A current paystub from your job, unemployment, disability, workers’ compensation, etc.
- A copy of your last tax return
- A current profit & loss statement if you’re self-employed
- Copies of court documents
- Notice(s) of Motion, Request for Order, or other pleading documents
- Responsive Declaration(s)
- Income & Expense Declaration(s)
- Seek Work Logs
- Your child support record of payment, audit, or other accounting, if available
- Four copies of any document you want to present to the court as evidence, such as
- Childcare receipts
- Medical bills
- Log of visitation time with child(ren)
Who may observe my court hearing?
- The courtroom is public so anyone, except children, may attend virtually.
- Only you or your attorney may address the court during the hearing. Let the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) attorney know if you have a witness you want to testify.
- Minors (children under 18 years of age) are not allowed in the courtroom or on Zoom.
Where do I go and what do I do, once I get to the courthouse?
- The courthouse has reopened for most regular business, including hearings. Some emergency rules of the court still apply and can limit available services. For the most up-to-date information, please see the court's website at Family Court: Contra Costa Superior Court (cc-courts.org)
- You may drop off any documents requiring filing at the drop box in front of the courthouse located in front of the Peter L. Spinetta Family Law Building, 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA, Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. or walk them to the filing window during business hours.
How much will I have to pay?
- DCSS and the court both use a computer program called Guideline Calculator to calculate appropriate child support payments, based on factors including gross income (before taxes), tax filing status, visitation, child care costs, health insurance costs, union dues, etc.
- You can also use the Guideline Calculator to get an estimate of what amount of support may be ordered.
What if I don’t have an attorney?
Even though the DCSS attorney doesn’t represent you or the other party, he or she will present the case and the reason for the hearing and explain where the two parties agree and disagree. You’ll have a chance to address the court and explain your position.
What if I can’t attend the hearing because I live too far away?
- In general, hearings will take place virtually by Zoom, which includes video and/or audio only services. If you reside in a country where the Zoom program is not available, please contact the court to make alternate arrangements to attend your hearing by telephone.
Can I change the date of my hearing?
- There are very few reasons that qualify to change your court date, and there are no guarantees that your request will be granted.
- The court can proceed with the hearing, even if you’re not there.
- You should make every effort to be available on the date scheduled.
What happens after court?
- After the hearing, the Commissioner’s orders will be documented, signed, and filed. A copy of the order will be mailed to your current address on file with DCSS within a few weeks.
- If the hearing results in the modification of an existing order, it may take several weeks to see the change in your payment amount.
- If you have questions following your hearing, the following methods of assistance are available to you:
- The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney who works for the court and provides limited free legal assistance. Live Chat and limited in-person services are available. Please visit the webpage of the Family Law Facilitator’s Office for availability and to utilize this service.
- Contact DCSS to discuss your order. You may contact your caseworker by phone at (866) 901-3212 or by email at [email protected]. You may also contact our office by leaving us a message on Customer Connect, California’s self-service child support information system.