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Frequently Asked Questions

Honorable Patrick J. Mahoney Judge Presiding

When are Family Law matters heard?

Matters involving custody and visitation are heard on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Calendar dates for matters involving custody and visitation are assigned by the clerk at the Family Law window in room 103 of the San Francisco Superior Court when you file your motion. Parties appearing on this calendar will be sent to Family Court Services for mediation. Parties may be in mediation for the entire morning.

Matters involving any issues other than custody and visitation are heard on the 9:30 a.m. short cause hearing calendar on Tuesday and Wednesday only. Parties are allowed a maximum of 20 minutes for their hearing.

Long cause hearings are set at 9:15 a.m. on Monday in Department 404, and Monday at 10:00 a.m. in Department 403.

Mandatory settlement conferences are scheduled each Friday in Department 403.

Adoptions are heard each Monday at 8:45 a.m. in Department 405.

If I have calendaring questions, who do I call?

All calendaring is handled through the calendar clerk. The calendaring office will take phone calls from 8:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for the Family Law Calendaring Department is (415) 551-3906.

Where do I leave an order to show cause for the judge to sign?

Regardless of which department will ultimately hear the matter, all orders to show cause are signed by the Judge in Department 405. Please leave the order to show cause in the IN-BOX at Room 402.

How do matters involving custody and visitation disputes get on calendar?

After the Court has signed the order to show cause you will find that the date and time of the hearing are not given. The date and time of the hearing will be assigned by the clerk at the Family Law window in Room 103 of San Francisco Superior Court when you file the motion.

What if I don't attend Family Court Services Orientation prior to coming to Court?

There is a Standing order to attend Family Court Services Orientation, dated June 2, 1995. The orientation program is mandatory and must be completed before your court date or your mediation appointment. If you do not complete the program before your court date or mediation appointment, the Court may: (1) fine you up to $250.00; or (2) make orders affecting your rights without your participation.

How do I calendar a matter that doesn't involve custody or visitation issues?

Law and motion and discovery issues may be put on the 9:30 a.m. calendar in the appropriate department on Tuesday and Wednesday only. These are short cause hearing calendars and parties may not exceed 20 minutes for their hearing. Please select a date on a Tuesday or Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. for your matter to be heard. Put the date on your order to show cause or your notice of motion. The matter will be calendared by data entry after you file the motion. You need not clear this date with the calendar clerk. However, if you are interested in how crowded the calendar is or if the judge is available on a certain date, then please contact the calendar clerk. The phone number for the Family Law Calendaring Department is (415) 551-3906.

How do I have both custody and financial issues heard on the same day?

You may file your order to show cause or notice of motion for both custody and financial issues. You will be assigned to a 9:00 a.m. calendar for mediation. The Court will not hear financial issues on the same day. Your matter will be continued to another date on a 9:30 a.m. calendar for hearing of financial issues.

The only exception to this rule is when one or both of the parties is represented by an attorney from the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) attorney. Please identify yourself to the Court as a VLSP attorney when you appear in Court.

How do I calendar an adoption proceeding?

All adoptions are done on Monday mornings at 8:45 a.m. in Department 405. The calendar is maintained exclusively by the Clerk Coordinator. No adoption will be calendared until copies of the decree of adoption, the consent and agreement, and the accounting report have been lodged with the Courtroom Supervisor. The phone number for the Coordinator is (415) 551-3900.

How do I get a copy of a transcript?

Transcripts are obtained directly from the reporter. Transcripts are not free. Contact the reporter from your hearing to get an estimate of the cost of the transcript and arrange for its creation. The reporter's phone number in Department 405 is (415) 551-3748. The reporter's phone number in Department 404 is (415) 551-3745. The reporters' phone number in Department 403 is (415) 551-3742.

On days when the assigned reporter is not available a temporary reporter will take over in the courtroom. If you discover that a temporary reporter was there on the day of your hearing, then please call the court clerk in the appropriate department to find out the name of the reporter. Once you have the name of the reporter, call the Court Reporters' Manager at (415) 551-3775 to get information on how to contact the temporary reporter.

Why won't the courtroom clerk help me?

Superior Court and Clerk personnel are not permitted, under state law, to provide legal advice to litigants. The phone number for the Lawyer Referral Service of The Bar Association of San Francisco is (415) 989-1616.

How do I get help in processing necessary judicial forms to process issues through the courts system?

The Office of the Family Law Facilitator can answer your questions and concerns regarding your child and support, health insurance matters and help you with the necessary judicial forms to process your issues involving Family Law matters through the Court system. For questions regarding forms involving matters other than Family Law, contact (415) 551-3810. (See Civil Records.)

For more information [see Family Law Facilitator] or drop in Monday-Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. top 12:00 noon at 400 McAllister Street, Room 103, San Francisco, CA 94102, telephone (415) 551-3991.

How do I get information about how to get child support I am not receiving or that I am entitled to?

Call the Family Support Bureau (415) 356-2700, located at 617 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.

How do I obtain a lawyer or legal advice?

Call the San Francisco Bar Association (415) 764-1616. The SF Bar Association sponsors LARC (Legal Advice Resource Clinic) on the second Saturday of each month, 10:30 a.m. until noon, Hastings School of Law, 198 McAllister, San Francisco, CA 94102. Call (415) 764-1616 if you have further questions and to confirm this information. Legal Services for Children at (415) 863-3762 can also provide legal information concerning issues involving children. If you cannot pay, please tell them and they will refer you to the Volunteer Legal Services Program.

Who do I call to report abuse or neglect of children?

If child is in IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911. In San Francisco call: CHILDREN'S EMERGENCY SERVICES 1-800-856-5553. Abuse and neglect occurring in another county, call that county's CES number, available through 411 information.

What is the cost of fees for filing other Family Court documents?

In San Francisco, call the Clerk's Office of the Superior Court (415) 551-5719. (See Fee Schedule.)

How do I obtain guardianship information?

Call Legal Services for Children (415) 863-3762. Children not allowed to come to any Family Law hearings or mediation unless requested to appear by the Court Disabled Access Civil Division
Last updated: 1/27/2010 9:40:07 AM