Going to Court
In Santa Clara County, the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) hearings are conducted both in-person and remotely using MS Teams, they are held in Department 71 of the Santa Clara County Superior Court located at 201 N. First Street, in San Jose, California. Law and motion calendars start at 9:00 am or 1:30 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 filed with the court and 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)
- 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.
- 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.
Yes, you can appear using MS Teams or call in for audio only
If you are appearing via MS Teams:
Download the free Teams app in preparation for your video hearing at least 2 days in advance of your hearing
Downloading the app is not required if you want to just call-in to your hearing instead of being on the video conference. Check the court website for Call-in information (see below).
What to Do on the Day of the Hearing:
Look at your paperwork to determine the time scheduled for your hearing. If you are unsure, hearing information for non-confidential cases can be accessed through the Court’s Public Portal at the following link: https://portal.scscourt.org/.
Click here to obtain the link to the hearing as well as the call-in and access code:
Join the hearing 15 minutes prior to the start time indicated in your hearing notice so you can be checked in.
NOTE: You may choose to call-in using audio only, check the court website for the correct access code.
Mute your phone unless you are indicating you are present for the hearing or your case is being heard
• NOTE: There is a different link and Access Code for AM calendar VS PM calendar- This link is changed weekly
• You are required to provide your 2 most recent paystubs to the Department of Child Support office.
• You are also required to file an Income and Expense Declaration with the court 2 weeks prior to your hearing.
• Here is a link to the form plus a sample with instructions on how to complete the form: Family Forms - The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (scscourt.org), then scroll down to Respond to a Request for Order and click “Income & Expense Declaration FL-150” to pull up a blank form, click the word “Sample” next to the Income & Expense Declaration FL-150 to pull up instructions on how to complete the form.
• Please be aware that calendars go from 9:00 am-noon and 1:30 pm-5 pm. The Commissioner calls cases in the order they deem 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 into 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.
- 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.
- Our office 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 the hearing resulted in a change of a child support orders, it may take several weeks to see the change in your payment amount.
You can call, drop in or e-mail DCSS to discuss your order.
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 be sure to serve DCSS at [email protected] as well as the other party.
Do not file confidential documents, such as medical records or a return to work certificate. Instead, you can e-mail those documents at least two weeks before the hearing to [email protected] . You must copy DCSS at [email protected] and the other parent on any email sent to the e-mail address.
IF YOU DO NOT FILE OR SUBMIT DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE HEARING, YOUR HEARING MAY BE RESCHEDULED FOR ANOTHER DAY.
- 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.
- You may want to consider VTA and Caltrain for public transportation options.
- 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.
- Department 71 is on the 5th floor of 201 N. First Street in San Jose.
- The doors of the Departments should open around 9:00 am or 1:30 pm when the deputy is available.
- The Commissioner will take the bench and hear the cases.
- Court sessions usually start at 9:00 am and go until noon or at 1:30 pm and go until 5 pm. Please prepare to stay at court until noon or 5 pm.
- 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.