San Jose, CA asked in Family Law for California

Q: My parents claim to have filed a domestic violence report against me for my 2 year old daughter

I haven’t received paperwork from court or anything , they refuse to let me pick her up

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1 Lawyer Answer
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Ask your parents for a copy of the papers. You are required to be served with the papers before the court order is effective. If they continue to refuse, ask them for the name of their attorney and phone. Call the attorney and go get a copy. If they don't have an attorney, or even if they do, go to your closest family law court and ask to speak to the clerk of court. You may have to make an appointment due to Covid. Make the appointment. When you do talk to the clerk give them your name and the names of your parents and ask the clerk to look up your case number based on names. Then ask the clerk for a copy of the papers. They will charge you 50 cents per page.

The court papers should have a court date on them. You need to file your papers back against your parents right away so you can have your day in court. If you don't know how to fill out the papers, go to the Self Help Center. See below.

When you ask a question online, like here, the answers you get are only going to be basic information, a starting point. Attorneys are trained to talk to you to find out all the important details of your story. Getting all the details is very important because it will make a big difference in the legal information given to you. It is strongly recommended that even if you get a response here on Justia, that you also talk to an attorney. Many have free first interviews. Even if you have to pay, it is worth it because you talking to a professional who is going to focus on you.

All 58 counties in California have some type of Self-Help Center. The people at the Self-Help Center help you fill out family law forms for free. They can’t do everything in family law, but they will help you with all the basics. The downside is that they don’t have a lot of time to spend with you, and often there is a line to get in to see them. The upside is that it is free. So if you have more time than money, go to the Self-Help Center for divorce, custody, visitation, paternity and domestic violence paperwork. But if you want a more thorough in-depth help, it is recommended that you see a family law attorney. Many family law attorneys have a free first interview. Some charge only $50. Some $75 or $100. It only takes a phone call to their office to find out the fee for the first interview. There is no obligation to hire an attorney to do anything after the first interview. That’s up to you. Also there is no requirement that you talk to an attorney in your area. Any family law attorney licensed in California can help you no matter where you live as long as it is in the state or your case is filed in California. The interview would be done by phone, Zoom, Skype, Facetime or some other type online method. Even if the attorney is in your area, many attorneys are only talking to people this way due to the Covid pandemic, so you couldn’t have an interview in their office anyway. Also attorneys are going to give you a more-in-depth analysis of your situation than you will get at the Self-Help Center. So call an attorney and set up an appointment.

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