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Understanding Riverside Court Giving you the upper-hand during this difficult time.

The Complete Guide to the Riverside Family Court

50+ Years’ Combined Experience Guiding Families Through Court

The San Bernardino divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Michael R. Young want spouses and families to be prepared for their experience in court. It’s a nerve-wracking thing to face a judge for any reason—the decisions made in a courtroom have the ability to affect your life for years to come. We are here to help you feel at ease about your time at the court, which is why we’ve created this guide.

Our guide answers the following questions:

  • Where is the court located?
  • What types of cases are handled at court?
  • What services are provided?
  • What is child custody-recommended counseling?
  • What should I wear?
  • How should I behave?
  • What are the filing procedures?
  • What items are prohibited at court?

Where Is the Family Courthouse Located?

The Riverside Family Courthouse is located at:

  • 4175 Main Street
  • Riverside, CA 92501.

The Courthouse is open from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding court holidays. Metered street parking is available around the Courthouse, at $0.25 per 10 minutes, up to 4 hours max.

There are pay-parking structures available at:

  • 3535 12th Street
  • 4090 Lemon Street
  • 3964 Orange Street

Be sure to arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to your court appearance, as the security line can be time-consuming. Avoid bringing heavy bags, as this tends to create delays in security. Your attorney will arrange a location to meet after the security check, usually in front of the designated courtroom.

What Types of Cases Are Handled at the Family Courthouse?

Family law is a general term that refers to matters involving marital relationships, relationships between parents and children, relationships between extended relatives, relationships between cohabitants or roommates, and violence involving family, friends, or acquaintances.

The Court deals with the following legal issues:

  • Legal separation
  • Dissolution of marriage
  • Terminating domestic partnerships
  • Annulments or nullity
  • Identifying legal parents
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child and/or spousal support
  • Adoptions
  • Domestic violence issues

What Services Are Provided At the Family Courthouse?

The Family Court Services Division provides Orientation Class information with respect to the Child Custody Recommending Counseling Process.1 The orientation must be completed by both parties prior to the scheduled Child Custody Recommending Counseling Process. This class is designed to prepare parents for Counseling by providing an overview of the ins-and-outs of the process. The course also covers education regarding childhood development needs and co-parenting skills.

Additionally, Family Court Services provides several other services, such as:

  • Mediation regarding child custody and visitation 2
  • Marital relationship counseling 3
  • Premarital assessment for minors who have petitioned the court for permission to marry 4
  • Mediation of visitation issues on guardianship matters

What Is Child Custody Recommending Counseling?

Following orientation, the parents will meet with a recommending counselor to discuss creating a parenting plan. The role of the counselor is to listen to both parents and encourage each party to listen to the other with an open mind. In doing so, the counselor helps develop a parenting plan that addresses the development needs of the children and meets their best interests.

The counselor is a trained health professional with at least a Master’s Degree and extensive experience in psychology, marriage, family and child counseling, and social work.

Counselors are also experienced in domestic violence matters, substance abuse, child abuse, various family dynamics, the effects of divorce and separation, and how all of these factors affect children.

It is possible for the counselor to interview the children under two instances. First, if the court deems it appropriate and necessary for the children to be interviewed. Secondly, where there is a dispute among the parents, the counselor may choose to interview the children. The children are interviewed at a separate session, usually following the parents’ and as to not interfere with school schedules.

What Is “Proper Court Etiquette”?

Appearing in Riverside Family Court is a serious affair, regardless of how minor the matter. Improper etiquette may have detrimental impact on your case, as it will leave a lasting impression with the judge. There are strict rules regarding dress, behavior, and overall decorum. Following proper etiquette not only helps proceedings move more smoothly, but also tells the judge that you are taking the matter seriously.

While there are general set rules for demeanor, judges tend to impose additional standards on those who enter their courtroom.

Proper behavior and decorum is of extremely high importance. We understand that family law matters bring about strong emotions; however, the courtroom is the last place to let these emotions take over.

  • It is important to remain quiet and respectful while court is in session.
  • When in court, it is important to treat everyone with respect, including the opposing party.
  • The judge is addressed as “Your Honor.” Focus on using the right words when speaking in court. For example, when responding to a question, “Yes, Your Honor” as opposed to, “Yeah” or “Sure.”
  • Be sure to speak clearly, with appropriate volume, avoiding speaking too fast or too quietly.
  • Be sure to not interrupt or talk over the judge, the clerk, bailiff, or other attorneys.
  • Body language can also go a long way when addressing the court. Be sure to stand straight and tall, with your hands at your sides or holding hands. Do not cross your arms or lean on the podiums, and make good eye contact with the judge and attorneys.
  • Do not bring food or beverages into the courtroom, chew gum, or talk during proceedings.
  • When outside of the courtroom, but still in the Courthouse, be sure to speak softly in the hallways and stairwells so as to not disturb proceedings in progress.
  • Refrain from discussing with others what you may have heard in the courtroom while still at the Courthouse, as there may be attorneys or opposing parties to your case that may hear information that they should not hear.

We understand that this is may be a lot of information to remember, and if you have questions, be sure to consult with your attorney prior to appearing in court.

What Should I Wear to Court?

We strongly encourage all clients to approach court appearances with professional attire, turn off any electronics and smartphones, and refrain from conversation while court is in session unless conferring with an attorney. A good rule of thumb for attire is to dress as though going to an interview. Men should dress in a suit and combed hair. If you do not own a suit, slacks or nice Dockers are acceptable, with a dress shirt and tie, or clean polo tucked in with a belt. Women are encouraged to wear a business suit or pantsuit, a blouse, and dress shoes or heels. No open-toed shoes, sandals, or flip-flops.

What Are the Filing Procedures?

Forms are to be completed either typewritten or neatly printed in either blue or black ink. In addition to the original copies, two additional copies should be made for each court filing. The court is able to make copies at a cost of $0.50 cents per page. When filing the forms, the original and copies will be filed with the clerk. The clerk will process the forms, keep the originals and give back the copies. From there, you will keep one copy and provide the other to the opposite party. A detailed list of the filing procedures for Riverside and San Bernardino family courts can be found on the court website.

Prohibited Items at the Family Courthouse:

  • Firearms
  • Tasers/Stun guns
  • BB/Pellet guns
  • Toy guns
  • Any ammunition
  • Any type of knife; folders, fixed blade, Swiss Army/utility, butter, or steak knives
  • Scissors
  • Razors, box cutters, “exacto” tools
  • Screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, hammers
  • Any sharp items (knitting needles, ice picks, crochet hooks)
  • Tear gas, pepper spray or mace
  • Animal repellant
  • Butane/cigarette lighters
  • Darts
  • Letter openers
  • Heavy-duty wire
  • Heavy-gauge chains
  • Laser pointers
  • Skateboards/skates
  • Needles/syringes (exception for diabetics or with a prescription)
  • Handcuffs/handcuff keys
  • Clothing beyond “what is reasonable for personal use and current weather conditions”
  • Glass containers/objects
  • Any other items that present a safety concern as determined by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department supervisors

1Pursuant to Cal. Rule of Court 5.210(e)(2)
See Cal. Fam. Code §§ 3160, 3183(a)
3See Cal. Fam. Code § 1831
4See Cal. Fam. Code §§ 302, 304

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