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Going to Court

 

In Santa Clara County, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) hearings are generally held in Departments 70 and 71 of the Santa Clara County Superior Court located at 201 N. First Street, in San Jose, California. On the second Wednesday of each month, some DCSS hearings are heard in Department 107 of the Santa Clara Superior Court at 301 Diana Ave. in Morgan Hill, California. Law and motion calendars start at 8:15 am or 1:15 pm. The Commissioners may set other times for longer hearings, settlement conferences or status conferences. Please be on time. If you are not in the courtroom on time, your case could be resolved without input or your hearing could be cancelled.

Attorneys from DCSS appear in the public interest but do not represent either parent or the child. There is no attorney-client relationship with either parent or with the child per Family Code §17406. Most parties are not represented by an attorney, however, parties are welcome to find their own attorneys to represent them even if they have a case with DCSS. If you do obtain an attorney to represent you for child support, please let us know.

DCSS is a party to every family law matter in which a family is receiving establishment or enforcement services from DCSS. As a result, DCSS should be served with copies of all relevant pleadings as well as documents that will be relied upon at court. DCSS often sends parties a Notice to Produce and Appear for documents that the court would find relevant to the court hearing and requests that all documents listed on the notice be received at DCSS at least 2 weeks prior to the hearing. DCSS will review the documents to be prepared for court, and if appropriate, see if a stipulation could be reached between all parties. Many families prefer stipulations as they can avoid the stress and cost of attending court such as parking fees and time off from work. If you and the other party are interested in a stipulation, please contact us.

At court, the Child Support Services attorney will often present factors agreed upon by the parties and frame the contested issues for the Court at the hearing. The parents or their attorneys can supplement those issues as needed. This process often reduces the time required for a hearing by focusing on only the contested issues. Each side is then allowed to produce evidence regarding their positions. The Court Commissioner may ask questions to obtain additional information needed. Most hearings are usually short, under fifteen minutes.​​​​​


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)​​​​

Where can I park?
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  • For the Superior Court 201 N. First Street in San Jose, there are city public parking lots off of W. St. John Street between N. San Pedro and North Market Street, as well as between N. 2nd Street and N. 3rd There are also other parking lots in the area. You may also be able to find parking at parking meters.
  • For the Superior Court at 301 Diana Ave. in Morgan Hill, parking is available adjacent to the courthouse.
  • You may want to consider VTA and Caltrain for public transportation options.
Who can come to court with me?
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  • The courtrooms are open to the public so anyone may attend a hearing. Children are generally not allowed in the courtroom.
  • Only you or your attorney may address the court during a hearing. Let the DCSS attorney know if you have a witness that is to testify.
Where do I go and what do I do, once I get to the courthouse?
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  • The courthouse is a secured building with a security screening. Please avoid bringing glass bottles, scissors, or items that could be seen as a weapon. Please allow enough time to get through the security screening. 
  • Departments 70 and 71 are on the 5th floor of 201 N. First Street in San Jose.
  • The doors of the Departments should open around 8:15am or 1:15pm when the deputy is available.
  • DCSS staff may speak to you about the issues to be heard in court prior to the case being called by the Commissioner.
  • The Commissioner will take the bench and hear the cases.
  • Court sessions usually start at 8:15 am and go until noon or at 1:15pm and go until 5 pm. Please prepare to stay at court until noon or 5 pm.
What should I bring to court or provide to DCSS?
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If the hearing is about calculating the amount of child support, please provide the following:

  • Documents that a judge or commissioner ordered you to produce.
  • Documents requested in the Notice to Produce and Appear from DCSS or other party if one was received.
  • A completed 4 page Income and Expense Declaration (Income and Expense Instructions) Santa Clara County Local Rule 3(D) requires a current Income and Expense Declaration or, if applicable, a Financial Statement (Simplified), to be filed and served by both parties as part of the moving or responding papers if support is at issue.
  • 3 most recent paycheck stubs, or proof of the amount and type of disability, workers’ compensation, Social Security, unemployment benefits, etc.
  • A copy of the most recent signed and filed state and federal income tax returns with all schedules.
  • If self-employed, a current (most recent twelve months) profit and loss statement and balance sheet.
  • Records showing rents, trust income, or any other income.
  • Recent W-2s, 1099s, and K-1 forms.
  • If self-employed, a current (most recent twelve months) profit and loss statement and balance sheet and Schedule C.
  • Proof of child care and health care costs and payments.
  • Proof of any hardship or deduction being requested such as union dues, retirement contributions, and other support paid.
  • Log of custody/visitation schedule including dates and duration of the visit.
  • Copies of Court Documents (Notice of Motion, Responsive Declarations, Seek Work Logs, etc.)

Please bring 4 copies of documents you wish to show the court. One for the court, one for DCSS, and for the opposing party and one for yourself.​

How much will I have to pay?
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  • Both DCSS and the court use a computer program called the Guideline Calculator to calculate appropriate child support payments based on gross income (before taxes), visitation, child care costs, health insurance costs, union dues, etc.
  • You can use the Guideline Calculator to get an estimate of what you might owe.
  • If the amount is too high or too low, the Commissioner can decide to deviate above or below the calculation. If the money is not assigned to the County and owed to the other parent, the other parent may be willing to stipulate to less support. If the stipulation is approved by the commissioner, it will then become the new court ordered amount.
I live far away. What if I can’t attend the hearing? Can I appear by telephone?
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  • You may be able to appear by telephone. See Telephone Appearance(Form Instruction).for a Request for Telephone Appearance and the instructions to complete and return the form. If your appearance by telephone is approved for departments 70, 71 or 107 on a DCSS calendar, you do not have to set up CourtCall Appearance. You may want to call DCSS at 866-901-3212 to let us know that your telephonic appearance has been approved. 
  • Please be sure to send documentation that you will be relying upon to DCSS and the other party well ahead of the hearing date. If the court has asked you to file documents with the court, please be sure that you have done so timely since you will not be present in court to present the documents. 
  • Please be aware that calendars go from 8:15 am-noon and 1:15 pm-5 pm. The Commissioner calls cases in the order he or she deems appropriate and we do not know when the court will be calling your case. When you do appear by telephone, you will be on a speaker phone in the courtroom. Listen carefully as the hearing will proceed quickly. Speak clearly and directly in to the phone. Be in a quiet room and try to use a landline. Have your personal and financial information ready for reference. You may experience periods of silence during your hearing while the Commissioner waits for information or while a computer calculation is done.
Can I change the date of my hearing?
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  • Only the Court can grant a continuance (postponement) or cancellation of your hearing.
  • The court can proceed with your hearing, even if you are not there.
  • You should make every effort to be available on the date scheduled.
  • There are a limited number of cases that can be heard in court on any given day and the court has already reserved time for your case on the currently scheduled date.
  • If the other person does not agree to a continuance, the chances of a continuance are less likely. If you would like to know if the matter will be continued prior to your court date, you may need to file a motion with the court. If you are not represented by an attorney, you can contact the Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator for assistance in filing this motion.
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Is there childcare available?
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  • There are very limited child care services at the court at 201 N. First Street in San Jose for children between the ages of 2 -12. See Children's Waiting Room for more information. It is suggested that other child care arrangements be made if possible. You may also want to consider appearing by telephone for your court appearance.
What happens after court?
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  • Time permitting, our staff try to draft the orders, obtain the commissioner’s signature, and have the order filed with the court so we can give you a copy prior to you leaving court.
  • If we are unable to obtain a filed copy of the court order before you leave, we will send you a copy of the order at the address you provided at court to DCSS. If your address has changed, please update your address through Customer Connect or you can call us at (866)901-3212.
  • If you would like to make a payment at court, please speak to caseworker. They can help you with payments by cash, check, credit card, or from a bank account.
  • If the hearing resulted in a change of a child support orders, it may take several weeks to see the change in your payment amount.

If hearings are finished early, the Child Support Specialist or Child Support Attorney may be able to explain your order or answer questions. You can also call, drop in or e-mail DCSS to discuss your order.

Last updated: 10/25/2018 2:17 PM