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Family Law

The Family Law division handles matters of the household or family, including dissolutions of marriage, legal separation, child custody, support and domestic violence.

Overview: Hours and Basic Processes

Family Law Request for Order and Temporary Restraining Order pickup hours are 12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m. Requests for Orders that are submitted in person, at the counter by 8:45 a.m. are available for pick up the following Court day from 12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m. in the Family Law lobby at Window #1. Questions or business other than order pickup must be addressed in the Family Law Clerk's Office during normal business hours.

An Emergency Filing Drop Box is available for documents submitted after normal business hours. See Document Guidelines for filing in the Drop Box.

Research Request Form: The Court does not confirm personal or case information about a party's identity over the phone or by email unless there is a Court business need to do so to assist a party with their case, a party's attorney, a party's designee, or a justice partner agency. Personal information includes details such as date of birth, last four digits of a Social Security Number, address, or driver's license number. Individuals seeking personal information about a party may visit the courthouse to look up information on a court provided computer or submit a Research Request Form.

Family Law Forms

Judicial Council forms, local forms, packets and information are available in the following locations:

Also view information about law libraries and self-help legal books and get free help with forms at California’s Free Website for Legal Help.


  • Superior Court’s Self-Help Center at 800 11th Street, Room 220, Modesto, CA 
  • Family Law Clerk's Office at 1100 I Street, Modesto, CA during regular business hours. Forms are also available by mail at P.O. Box 1098, Modesto, CA 95353-1098.
  • Stanislaus County Law Library at 1101 13th Street, Modesto, CA.

Filings may be submitted in person, by eFile, or by mail. The mailing address for the Clerk's Office is P.O. Box 1098, Modesto, CA 95353. Documents submitted for filing by mail must include the appropriate filing fees as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of documents or conformed copies of documents.

For additional information on fees required for filing family law cases, please refer to the following link:

The purpose of the Clerk's Office is to process and file documents which have been presented either at the counter or by mail and provide clerical support and calendars for the courtrooms in Family Law.

State law prohibits the Court staff from giving legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may consult an attorney or you may wish to do your own research at the Law Library located at 1101 13th Street, Modesto, CA.


You may obtain a hearing date by filing a Request for Order.  Hearings involving custody or visitation issues are calendared at 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 a.m., Monday - Thursday. Mediation will take place telephonically.

Hearings involving economic issues, such as child or family support, are calendared at 9:00 a.m., Monday - Thursday, and are generally set approximately two weeks after custody or visitation hearings.

Monitors located in the lobby inside the 800 11th Street entrance to the main courthouse provide information regarding the department where your hearing will be held. Departments 11, 13 and 14 are located in the basement of the main courthouse. Department 25 is located on the second floor of the main courthouse.

Virtual Courtroom - Click here to access Zoom instructions and responsibilities.  Haga clic aqui para leer esto en Espanol. 

Tentative Ruling Process for Family Law Motions

The court will issue a tentative ruling announcement on the court day prior to the scheduled hearing on the following types of motions:

  • Motion to Compel Discovery
  • Motion to Be Relieved as Attorney of Record
  • Motion for Alternate Valuation Date
  • Motion to Set Aside Default/Judgment
  • Motion for Reconsideration of Order
  • Motion for Bifurcation of Marital Status/Economics Issues
  • Motion for Joinder of Parties
  • Motion to Amend Pleadings
  • Motion for Change of Venue
  • Motion for New Trial
  • Motion to Enforce Judgment
  • Motion to Award or Divide Omitted Assets or Debts
  • Motion to Modify Judgment
  • Motion to Continue a Trial
  • Motion for Vocational Examination
  • Motion for Appointment of Elisor
  • Motion Regarding Family Law Attorney Real Property Lien (Fam. Code 2033, 2034)
  • Motion to Compel Compliance with Property Orders
  • Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs (conduct-based sanctions only)
  • Motion to Quash Service of Summons, to Quash Proceedings, to Stay or Dismiss for Inconvenient Forum, or to Strike the Petition
  • Motion for Pendente Lite Sale Order or Exclusive Management and Control of Community Property Assets that are deemed significant by the trial judge
  • QDRO - Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
  • Vocational Exam
  • Change of Name
  • Any Motion Specifically Determined at Judge’s Discretion

Tentative rulings will be posted in the following locations by 1:30 p.m. on the court day prior to the hearing:

  • INTERNET: The Tentative Ruling Announcement will be posted on the Court's website and can be found by clicking here.
  • CLERK’S OFFICE LOBBY: Check the posting in the Clerk's Office lobby.
  • COURTROOM DOORS: Check the posting on the outer door of the assigned courtroom (Departments 9, 13, 14 and 25).
  • NOTE: Telephonic announcements of the Tentative Rulings are NOT available.

Self-Help Information

For comprehensive information about family law matters, visit California Courts' Self-Help Center.

The State Bar of California has helpful information in several free booklets, including one on Kids & The Law.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Stanislaus County is a non-profit 501(C)3 organization that recruits, screens, trains and supervises volunteer advocates to fact find and report to the Court what is in the BEST INTEREST of the child. CASA advocates for children who are dependents of the Court due to various situations of abuse and neglect.

Your Public Law Library, by The Council of California County Law Librarians.

Contra Costa County has a virtual Self-Help Center. The site has many instructive videos that provide information about the process and about how to complete required Judicial Council forms. Keep in mind some of their forms are for their county and may not apply to other counties.

The information posted on this website is not intended to constitute legal advice or to take the place of the assistance of competent legal counsel. you should speak to an attorney of your choice for specific information about the facts of your case and your rights.

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