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Families and Children

Divorce & Legal Separation

To end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California you must either file for a divorce or an annulment. Once completed it restores the parties to single status.

A legal separation is for couples who do not want to divorce but want to live apart. It does not end a marriage. You cannot remarry or enter in a domestic partnership if you are legally separated.

Family Court Services and Mediation

Family Code Section 3170 requires mediation, or Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) services, in Family Law cases when separating or divorcing parents cannot agree on custody and visitation arrangements for their child. The parenting plan addresses such topics as legal custody, physical custody, timeshare or visitation schedules, telephone contact, transportation and any other special needs or issues pertaining to child custody and visitation. Other topics that may be discussed include domestic violence and substance abuse issues.

Click on the button below to learn more about child custody and visitation .

Child Custody and Visitation

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Family Court Services

Self-Help Info Centers

Self-Help Information Centers provide general assistance to people who do not have an attorney.  Click the button below to learn more.

Self-Help Information Centers

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Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses. Parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. Each parent is responsible for providing for the financial needs of his or her child according to his or her ability. They have this duty even when they separate or divorce.

For more information visit the California Court's Self Help site (external site ).

You can also find more information at Parent Guide to Separation and Divorce - Child Support (external site ), which explains parents’ child support responsibilities.

Family Law Facilitators from the Riverside Superior Court are available to provide assistance on your Child Support needs. Please see the services available, hours, and locations on the Child Support Assistance Calendar (pdf ).

The court provides waiting rooms for the children of family law litigants at the Riverside Family Law, Hemet, and the Larson Justice Center (Indio) courthouses.

Please review the court’s policies and procedures regarding the waiting rooms.

A Paternity case is a legal action filed by an unmarried mother or unmarried father to establish who is the legal father of a child or children. In order to get child support or a custody and visitation order unmarried parents must first establish paternity.

An adoption is the judicial act of creating a legal parental relationship when no biological relationship exists.

Key Points

In all adoption cases, an investigator writes a report, unless parties are seeking an adult adoption. The report provides important information to the judge about the adopting parent(s) and the child.

If the child is over 12 years of age, he or she must agree to the adoption proceedings.

Stepparent adoptions require the consent or agreement of both parents unless one is deceased.

All California Courts use the same basic Judicial Council forms for adoption proceedings.

For more information on adoption matters along with forms please visit the Judicial Council's California Self Help Center (external site ).

View adoption forms (external site ).

Family Law Facilitators are attorneys with experience in family law matters and who provide free assistance to unrepresented litigants regarding petitions, responses, Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) questions, child and spousal support calculations, motions, and general family law questions. Facilitators can help you in preparing your forms and can give you general information, but they cannot go with you to court.



The Family Law Facilitator is not your lawyer, but a neutral person who does not represent any party. There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Facilitator. Communications between you and the Facilitator are not confidential. You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized legal advice or strategy, have a confidential conversation, or be represented by an attorney in court.

The Family Law facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case.

Facilitators are available to meet with litigants on a first come, first served basis, during regular hours at various courthouses throughout Riverside County.

While visiting the Riverside Superior Court’s Family Law Facilitator offices/Self Help Centers, it is recommended that your children be left with an appropriate child care provider or family member. If you are unable to find care for your children, you may bring them. However, if your children become disruptive while you are at the Family Law Facilitators Office or Self Help Center, you may be asked to leave. Note: Children are not allowed in workshops. Please plan to attend a workshop on a day and time when you have care available for them.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are beginning a family law case you will be required to attend a workshop before meeting individually with a Facilitator. For the family law workshop calendar follow one of the links below: