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Family Court Services

Information about mediation services only: (415) 551-4007

Information about case status or court hearings: (415) 551-3900

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Located on the 4th floor of the Civic Center Courthouse, Room 402

Primary Services of Family Court Services


  • Free confidential mediations for custody and visitation disputes
  • Free confidential mediations for juvenile dependency cases (See Juvenile Dependency)
  • Free Orientation programs that provide education about the following topics:(Parents of the same child, or children, will be in separate orientations)
    • What is mediation and how does it work
    • What to expect in court
    • The developmental needs of children
    • The impact of separation, conflict and violence on children,
    • How to work with your child's other parent to help your child
    • A Parent's Guide to Family Court
  • Provide the court with specific information to assist it in making appropriate orders for children, as the court may order. This is known as a Tier 2 report
  • Facilitate visitation services at the Rally Program by providing Rally with necessary orders and information
  • In custody cases, provide parties with the names of possible custody evaluators, as the court may order
  • Minimum Standards for Custody Evaluators
  • Family Court Services does not deal with any financial or property issues

Services for Non-English speakers

  • Bilingual mediators can provide mediation services in Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi, as staff resources allow. Orientations are offered in English and Spanish
  • Parties who appear on the Domestic Violence calendar or who have a current restraining order may request an interpreter free of charge for their mediation or court date. A request should be made as soon as possible, in advance of that date, in Room 402.
  • Aside from the exceptions above, parties who do not speak English fluently should bring their own interpreter to mediation and to court. Minor children are NOT allowed to interpret

 Attorney Participation in Mediation

Attorneys are invited to participate in mediation. The mediator retains discretion as to how to incorporate counsel into the session. Attorneys who decide not to participate in the mediation session are considered to have waived the ex parte communication rules governing mediator / attorney communications

 Orders and Modifications for Rally Visitation Services

  • If parties expect court involvement in Rally visitation services, Family Court Services must be involved in the procedures in setting up these services
  • Parties should be aware that Rally services will not proceed if the necessary paperwork is not fully and appropriately completed
    • If a mediator is not in court when Rally orders are made, parties should request that one be contacted to assist with the paperwork
    • All stipulations and orders must address the following:
      • The number of times a week for visits or exchanges
      • The number of hours per visit (no more than 2 hours per week for supervised visits)
      • The person(s) responsible for paying the Rally fees
      • The appropriate fee for service (court to determine fee rate based on the income of the parties)
  • Parties can request a particular schedule of Rally. However, the court cannot order a specific schedule for Rally services. The exact schedule will be worked out between Rally staff and the parties when they each go in for their intake interview at Rally
  • Counsel that are putting together a stipulated order that includes a referral for Rally services (or for the termination of services) are encouraged to contact the parties' mediator or the supervising mediator, if there was no prior mediator, to request assistance in putting together a complete Rally order and associated papers
  • Counsel are urged to drop off a courtesy copy of any stipulated order that includes a referral to Rally (or for the termination of services), once it has been signed by the court for the parties' mediator, or for the supervising mediator if there is no assigned mediator

 Stipulations and Orders for Custody Evaluations

  • Family Court Services must be given a courtesy copy of the filed order
  • All orders for custody evaluations must be in the form required by San Francisco Local Rules or Standing Orders

 Family Court Services Staff
Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation
Juvenile Dependency Mediation

Last updated: 10/3/2011 1:01:01 PM