What to Expect in Court
Getting to Court
The courtroom for child support is located at 275 1st Street, Woodland, CA.
Things you Should Know
- You may bring additional documents you want to show the commissioner.
- There is airport-type security at the courthouse. Do not bring pocket knives, mace, or any other items that could be considered dangerous to others as they will be confiscated.
- Dress appropriately. The Department of Child Support Services recommends business attire.
- There will be a Spanish language interpreter in court to help you if you would like assistance.
- The Court will start the day with the Calendar Call. This is a “roll call” to find out who is present. Simple cases will also be resolved at this time.
- If you are late and miss roll call your hearing may proceed without you or delayed until the end of the day. In some cases, the hearing will be cancelled.
- After roll call, staff from our Department may talk to each party privately to discuss the case.
- If the parties reach an agreement, our office will prepare a Stipulation.
- Once all parties sign the Stipulation, you will be dismissed and no hearing will be needed.
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they will have a hearing.
- Court can sometimes last all day. Be prepared to be in court until the end of the day.
During Your Hearing
- Each party will have a chance to speak to the commissioner. The commissioner will speak to you and you will speak directly to him.
- Always direct your conversation toward the court and not the other party.
- Act professionally and be polite. Do not interrupt anyone while they are speaking.
- If you don't understand something ask the commissioner to clarify it.
After the Hearing
- After the hearing, you will be dismissed.
- There will be a Child Support Professional in court who will provide you with a copy of your child support order and will be available to answer questions. If you do not wait to receive a copy of your order, it will be mailed to you. Staff will explain how to make a payment and provide general information about our services. They can accept payments by check or cash and provide you with a receipt.
What If I Don’t Go to Court on My Case?
- No one else can represent you except your own attorney.
- If you do not attend the hearing, you will not be represented in court. DCSS attorneys represent the state and not either party.
- The hearing may proceed without you. By appearing in court you can help ensure that the order taken will be based on your financial situation.
- In certain circumstances, you may request a telephonic hearing, for a fee, you can request a telephonic hearing by filing the request form with the court.
What is the Family Law Facilitator's Office and how can it assist me?
The Facilitator's Office is located at 1100 Main Street, third floor, in Woodland, CA. The Family Law Facilitator provides child support information and assistance to parents. It can also help parents obtain and complete court forms and all services are provided free of charge. The Facilitator's office is not part of the Department of Child Support Services. For more information, please refer to the Family Law Facilitator website at http://www.yolo.courts.ca.gov/FacilitatorSelfHelp/.
If I file an answer with the court, will I have a chance to talk to the judge?
Yes, if you respond to the Summons and Complaint and file an Answer, you will be given a court date and will have an opportunity to appear before the Commissioner.
Is there any way to avoid having to go to court?
Yes, you can avoid going to court by signing a legal agreement (stipulation). The noncustodial parent and the Yolo County DCSS can agree (stipulate) on the amount of child support unless neither parent is receiving welfare benefits, then DCSS will assist both parents to sign a stipulation that establishes paternity and makes a formal arrangement to make child support payments.
What is in a stipulation?
The stipulation contains the agreement that the non-custodial parent is:
- The parent of the child
- Willing to pay child support
- Willing to provide health insurance
- Willing to allow the court to enter an order without appearing in court
If possible, you should discuss your case with the other parent and/or DCSS prior to the court date to see if you can agree on the terms of the stipulation.
What if I cannot make it to court?
Every effort is made to set a court date out with enough time for the parties to make arrangements in time for the hearing. However, if some conflict does arise you may try and request a continuance from the court. If you can, it is best to have both the other parent and DCSS agree to the new date. There is a specific form that must be used if you are asking for a continuance.
You may ask the court to appear by telephone. There are some very specific rules regarding the process. The most important requirement is that your Request for Telephone Appearance must be filed with the court at least 12 court days in advance and served on all parties to the case. Court days do not count on weekends or court holidays.
There is a specific form that must be used if you are asking to appear by telephone. Please refer to the forms section to access this document and the Information Form related to it. If you have further questions on this process, you may contact the Family Law Facilitator or Yolo County DCSS.
Additional Information regarding child support in Yolo County can be found on the court's website at http://www.yolo.courts.ca.gov/Family/FamilyLaw/ChildSupport/.