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Overview of the Court Process


This section provides a general overview of the court process for cases in which the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department (CSSD) is involved and addresses the most common questions and concerns. In most cases a court date is scheduled by CSSD or by the noncustodial parent (NCP). If we request a court date we will send the NCP and the custodial party (CP) paperwork in the mail. The paperwork will explain why we are going to court and will indicate when and where you have to appear.


If the NCP scheduled the court date, he or she must serve (provide) a copy of the paperwork to CSSD and the CP. If the NCP wants CSSD to serve the CP, he or she must provide CSSD with a copy of the paperwork at least 30 days before the court date. If the NCP does not serve CSSD and the CP in the time period required by law, the judicial officer will not hear the case on the court date. For more information about service, NCPs should contact the Office of the Family Law Facilitator.


You will almost always meet with someone from our department (CSSD) on the court date, before you go to the courtroom. Very often we will be able to resolve the issues with you and you will not have to go to court. However, if your case is scheduled to be heard by a judicial officer that day, you have the right to see the judicial officer that day if you want.


If your court date is scheduled at the Central Civil West (CCW) courthouse you must check in with our office on the 18th floor. We have limited seating available in our waiting area. Your friends and family members will not be able to sit with you in the waiting area; therefore, it may be best for you not to bring them with you to court. If there is a reason for them to come to court with you, they may wait in the courtroom on the 16th floor. You do not have to bring your children to court with you unless you were specifically instructed to do so.


If you cannot attend the hearing because you are disabled, reside out-of-state, or in Northern California, you may be able to appear telephonically. See Telephonic Hearings for more information.



To learn more about Going to Court, please click on one of the following links:


What to Bring with You / Continuances / Telephonic Hearings / On the Court Date / Location and Parking / Restraining Orders / InterpretersThe Court HearingAfter the Hearing / Going to Court FAQs