Families and Children

To end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California you must either file for a divorce or an annulment. Once completed it restores the parties to single status.

A legal separation is for couples who do not want to divorce but want to live apart. It does not end a marriage. You cannot remarry or enter in a domestic partnership if you are legally separated.

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Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation (parenting time) are terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the child to make decisions, and the parent's duty to care for the child.

Custody: There is a distinction between ‘legal’ and ‘physical’ custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the children’s health, education and welfare. Physical custody refers to which parent your children will live with and when.

Visitation: Visitation (also called “parenting time”) is the plan for how the parents will share time with the children. A parent who has the children less than half of the time has visitation with the children. Visitation orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors.

For more information visit the California Court's Self Help site. (external site )

Family Court Services and Mediation

Family Code Section 3170 requires mediation, or Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) services, in Family Law cases when separating or divorcing parents cannot agree on custody and visitation arrangements for their child. The parenting plan addresses such topics as legal custody, physical custody, timeshare or visitation schedules, telephone contact, transportation and any other special needs or issues pertaining to child custody and visitation. Other topics that may be discussed include domestic violence and substance abuse issues.

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Supervised Child Visitation

Supervised Visitation can be defined as visitation limited to special situations where a third party, ordered by the court, is present with the visiting parent during the period of visitation.  Supervised or monitored visitation may occur when there is a need to protect children because of substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, family violence, or other serious problems, or when children are getting to know a previously absent parent.


The Superior Court of California, County of Riverside is making this list available as a public service only. This list includes all providers who have requested to be included on the list and who have signed a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they meet the training and qualification under Cal. Fam. Code § 3200.5 (external site ) and the Standards of Judicial Administration 5.20 (external site ). Each provider has submitted all information listed.  The Riverside Superior Court has not and does not screen or evaluate the providers, their facilities, or the information they have listed nor have we verified any of the information posted.  The Riverside Superior Court does not recommend or endorse any of the listed providers nor do they recommend that any of the listed providers will meet the needs of parents or children. You are responsible for interviewing and selecting a suitable provider. You should contact providers directly for relevant information.

The Riverside Superior Court is not a party to any transaction between the customer and the provider and is not liable for any cost of the services.  The Riverside Superior Court is also not responsible for any damages arising directly or indirectly from services provided by any of the listed providers.

By accessing this list, you understand and agree that the Riverside Superior Court is not, in any way, responsible or liable for the acts, omissions, or services, of any of the providers, or for any other actions taken based upon the information provided. Any complaints should be sent directly to the provider. Copies of complaints may be sent to the Family Court Services Manager at the following address: Superior Court of California, County of Riverside, 4175 Main Street, Riverside, CA 92501.

Child Support

Child support is the amount of money that a court orders a parent or both parents to pay every month to help pay for the support of the child (or children) and the child’s living expenses. Parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. Each parent is responsible for providing for the financial needs of his or her child according to his or her ability. They have this duty even when they separate or divorce.

For more information visit the California Court's Self Help site (external site ).

You can also find more information at Parent Guide to Separation and Divorce - Child Support (external site ), which explains parents’ child support responsibilities.

Family Law Facilitators from the Riverside Superior Court are available to provide assistance on your Child Support needs. Please see the services available, hours, and locations on the Child Support Assistance Calendar (pdf ).

Children's Waiting Rooms

The court provides waiting rooms for the children of family law litigants at the Riverside Family Law, Hemet, and the Larson Justice Center (Indio) courthouses.

Please review the court’s policies and procedures regarding the waiting rooms.



An adoption is the judicial act of creating a legal parental relationship when no biological relationship exists.

Key Points

In all adoption cases, an investigator writes a report, unless parties are seeking an adult adoption. The report provides important information to the judge about the adopting parent(s) and the child.

If the child is over 12 years of age, he or she must agree to the adoption proceedings.

Stepparent adoptions require the consent or agreement of both parents unless one is deceased.

All California Courts use the same basic Judicial Council forms for adoption proceedings.  

For more information on adoption matters along with forms please visit the Judicial Council's California Self Help Center (external site ).

View adoption forms (external site ).

Family Law Facilitators

Family Law Facilitators are attorneys with experience in family law matters and who provide free assistance to unrepresented litigants regarding petitions, responses, Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) questions, child and spousal support calculations, motions, and general family law questions. Facilitators can help you in preparing your forms and can give you general information, but they cannot go with you to court.
The Family Law Facilitator is not your lawyer, but a neutral person who does not represent any party.  There is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Facilitator.  Communications between you and the Facilitator are not confidential.  You should consult with your own attorney if you want personalized legal advice or strategy, have a confidential conversation, or be represented by an attorney in court. 

The Family Law facilitator is not responsible for the outcome of your case. 

Facilitators are available to meet with litigants on a first come, first served basis, during regular hours at various courthouses throughout Riverside County. 

While visiting the Riverside Superior Court’s Family Law Facilitator offices/Self Help Centers, it is recommended that your children be left with an appropriate child care provider or family member. If you are unable to find care for your children, you may bring them. However, if your children become disruptive while you are at the Family Law Facilitators Office or Self Help Center, you may be asked to leave. Note: Children are not allowed in workshops. Please plan to attend a workshop on a day and time when you have care available for them.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are beginning a family law case you will be required to attend a workshop before meeting individually with a Facilitator.  For the family law workshop calendar follow one of the links below: