Family Law Division
The Family Law Division handles matters of divorce, child support, child custody, parentage, and domestic violence.
Family Law Case Resolution Process
As of January 1, 2013, all California Family Law Courts are governed by the “family centered case resolution” process. This case management process is aimed at early settlement, quicker trial dates, reduced expense of litigation and better assistance to families. Your case will be managed through one or more status conferences at which the parties, attorneys and a judicial officer will discuss a "case resolution plan."
Alpine County Superior Court shares the services of the El Dorado County Superior Court, South Lake Tahoe Branch for Family Law Mediation upon referral.
Family Law cases are heard under the Civil Calendar. Civil matters will be heard as scheduled via Zoom unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Attorneys, and/or parties without counsel, are instructed to contact the Alpine County Clerk’s Office at (530) 694-2113 to obtain the information necessary to make remote appearances.
See the Remote Appearances page for more information and forms.
In most cases, you will be required to pay a fee to file papers with the court. Fees are set by the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule.
If you know your case number and fee amount, you may pay online.
Go to Online Payments for more information on paying online, by phone, or by mail.
If you can’t afford the filing fee(s), you can file a “fee waiver” requesting your filing fees be waived by the Court.
Copy/Search of Records Request
The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney or paralegal available to provide procedural assistance to people who are representing themselves in family court.
Free legal assistance is available for those with issues related to:
- Child and Spousal Support
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Property Division
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
- Other Family Law Matters
Parties alleging domestic violence may file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
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You may go the the Restraining Orders page or Learn More to the right.
A dissolution of marriage, or divorce, is the termination of a marriage or registered domestic partnership. Issues of custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and property/debts can be resolved during the process.
PLEASE NOTE: For dissolution of marriage or legal separation in California, there are only two legal grounds. The first is "irreconcilable differences", meaning that at least one party asserts that the marriage cannot be saved. The other reason is "incurable insanity" which, unlike irreconcilable differences, must be proven.
A legal separation declares the parties legally separated, but they are still married or in a registered partnership.
A summary dissolution is a simpler way to end a marriage or domestic partnership for couples who qualify and who are both in agreement to terminate the relationship.
This may only be requested if a party alleges incest, bigamy, minor without parental consent, unsound mind, fraud, force or incapacity to consummate marriage.
Child Custody and Visitation
Even after marital and domestic partnership issues have been resolved, the court retains jurisdiction over issues that affect minor children in these proceedings until these children reach 18 years of age (or 19 years of age if still in high school). Parties may file motions to modify custody, support and visitation any time the circumstances warrant such filings.
To obtain or modify family support orders, establish parentage, or enforce existing family support orders, the Department of Child Support Services is available to assist you. In Alpine County, Central Sierra Child Support Agency is the local department.
Private and Stepparent: Before granting a petition for adoption, the court authorizes an investigation of the adoptive parents(s), regardless of whether they are related to the children or stepparents. Parties are required to pay for these investigations. Typically, the court will also consider petitions to terminate parental rights of the parent(s) who are relinquishing their children in this process.
Emancipation of Minors
A minor may petition the court for a declaration of emancipation if the minor is at least 14 years of age, willingly lives separately from parents, and managing his own personal financial affairs.