Standard Recommendations:

The following is a list of standard recommendations and actions that you can take to help prevent violations of a court order.

  1. If there is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1.
  2. Keep good records. Make a diary of all contacts with the other party, including dates, times, and specific conversations and/or actions. If a message is left on an answering machine, save the tape. It is illegal in California to tape a phone conversation without either the other person's consent or police authorization.
  3. Exchange a detailed written schedule of visitation which includes the date, time, and place the visitation will occur pursuant to the court order. Be very specific and clear and do not put other issues like support in the visitation schedule. Verbal agreements to change terms of the custody or visitation order are not enforceable. Any changes in the court's order must be made through the usual legal process.
  4. All correspondence regarding child custody/visitation should be mailed using U.S. Postal Form 3817. This form costs fifty-five cents, plus regular postage. There is no green card returned on this form, as the receiving party does not have to sign. However, it does give you a record showing that you did mail something to the other party, and the date it was mailed.
  5. Make a law enforcement crime report for violation of section 278.5 of the California Penal Code when you are denied court ordered visitation. This will serve as an official record of violations should you need it in the future. Remind the officer that you are the victim and the children are witnesses. The police should send a copy to the D.A. Child Abduction Unit.
  6. If you find that your court order is not working, consider taking the matter back to Court and back to mediation to change the order. Changes should be in the best interest of the child(ren). Remember that your child(ren) love both parents and suffer when there are custody and visitation problems.
  7. You have the right to file a civil contempt action against the offending party if you believe there is a violation. This is done by filing an Order to Show Cause Re: Civil Contempt, in the Superior Court. If the Court finds the allegations to be true, it can impose sanctions which may include jail time and/or fines. The Family Law Facilitator's Office can assist you in preparing the Order to Show Cause.
  8. If either parent lives in a state other than that where the current custody order exists, the custody order should be registered in the county where that parent lives. See the Stanislaus County Child Abduction Unit Brochure entitled, “Registering Child Custody Orders Out of State”.
  9. If you have a child custody order, be sure to have copies of the most current order. The best place to obtain a copy of an order is directly from the clerk of the court which issued the order. Provide a copy of the order to the children's school with a brief cover letter (ask that a copy of the order be placed in each child's Cumulative file. Give a copy of the order to any relative and/or day care provider or other person who may require the information (doctor, coach, etc.). If the order changes, send new orders.


Superior Court Courthouse
1100 I Street, 2nd Floor
Modesto, CA Phone
(209) 558-6000
Visit website

Family Law Facilitator Courthouse
Or Self Help Center
800 11th Street, Room 220,
Modesto CA 95353

Family Law Forms
A complete list of new, revised, and renamed Judicial Council forms

Filing Fees

There is a charge for filing family law actions and orders to show cause.

If you are low income you can obtain a “Fee Waiver Form” from the Superior Court Clerk's Office. Some or all of the filing fees may be waived, depending upon your income.

There is no charge for filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

Domestic Violence Cases

Other Assistance

Vanished Children's Alliance
2095 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: 408-296-1113
Toll Free: 1-800-826-4743
Email: moc.loa@100acv
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22201-3077
1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
Child Quest International, Inc.
1625 The Alameda, Suite 400
San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 287-4673
KLAAS Foundation for Children
P.O. Box 925
Sausalito, CA 94966
Phone: (415) 331-6867
National Missing Locate Center
16 N.E. 148th
Portland, OR 97230
Phone: 1-800-999-7846
POLLY KLAAS Foundation
Amber Swartz Foundation
P.O. Box 565
Pinole, CA 94564
Phone: (510) 222-9050