What Is Family Court?

The three main facets of law are personal injury, criminal defense and family law. Each category has a separate court system in the state of California. The family court handles family matters. These include divorce, child custody and many other cases involving the familial relationship. Family court abides by civil rather than criminal laws. It exists at the superior or trial court levels and hears cases under the California Family Code. Any case involving the institution of family will most likely go to the family courts.

Types of Cases a Family Court Hears

Family courts exist to resolve issues within a family in a fair and equitable manner. The family court system treats all members of a family equally. A judge will hear both sides of a family issue and consider them thoroughly before making a decision. Family court encourages whole and complete families rather than aiming to tear them apart. Family courts will always strive to resolve issues while maintaining the institution of family. A family court in Los Angeles may take on many types of cases.

  • Alimony
  • Annulment
  • Child abuse
  • Child custody
  • Divorce
  • Domestic partnerships
  • Domestic violence
  • Legal separation
  • Paternity
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Property division
  • Support orders and modifications

Oftentimes, a civil or criminal court will not have the time or resources to resolve a family matter quickly or efficiently enough. Counties began the family courts for this reason – to oversee family law matters without unnecessary delays. Having an isolated focus on family law gives these courts more time and resources to spend on family matters alone, rather than dividing time between family law and other types. Thanks to an isolated focus, the family courts can immediately address urgent cases, such as those involving domestic violence.

Information on Los Angeles Family Courts

If you need services from a family court in Los Angeles, find the correct court using an online search. Enter your city or community name and zip code to look up the correct LA County courthouse for your case. You can also browse through a list of courthouses in California to learn more about each location. The city of Los Angeles has two family courthouses.

  • Central Civil West Courthouse
    600 South Commonwealth Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90005
    (213) 742-6648
  • Stanley Mosk Courthouse
    111 North Hill Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    (213) 830-0803

You can also find plenty of self-help resources on the LA county court’s website. Self-help with parenting plans, divorce cases, custody agreements and other family matters could be enough to help you avoid having to visit a family court. If you do end up with a court date in Los Angeles, a local family law attorney can stand by your side during hearings and trials.

Do You Need to Go to Family Court?

Not all family matters require going to court. You and your family may be able to avoid a visit to a Los Angeles family courthouse if you can agree on an issue. Matters such as divorce, child custody, property division and legal separation may not require court trials if the family in question can settle matters through alternative dispute resolution. If you are willing to work with your spouse or another family member, you may be able to resolve an issue without the family court’s involvement.

Some family courts make it mandatory to try to resolve issues alone before the court will intervene. This can help promote a family’s ability to figure things out without constant legal intervention. Forcing a family to sit down and discuss the issue during alternative dispute resolution can save money and prevent frivolous cases from wasting time in the courts. Working things out yourself can make the entire family court system more efficient. It could also result in a stronger family unit in the future.