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Family Law Division

Family Court Services serves parties who need to file for Dissolution, Separation or Nullity of Marriage; Establishment of Parental Relationship, Petitions for Custody and Support, Motions for Child Custody, Support, or Visitation, Support Enforcement, Guardianship of Minors, Adoption, or who seek protection from Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Workplace Violence or Elder Abuse. Parties who need assistance filing any of the paperwork associated with custody, support, or protection can find assistance in our Self-Help center either through appointments or classes.

The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the office is closed during the lunch hour.

The Family Self-Help Center is located in room 310 on the third floor of the Courthouse. The open hours of the Self-Help Center are different every day. A list of Self-Help Center hours is available in the Court Clerk’s Office and in the Self-Help Center. You may contact the Self-Help Center by phone at (707) 445-7256, menu option 5.


Disclaimer: The Humboldt County Superior Court has made every effort to provide accurate information at this website; however, inaccuracies and outdated information may be found here on occasion.

Family Court is comprised of three distinct program areas:

  1. Family Court Operations Office, which processes filings and schedules court hearings for many different types of matters.

       Address:  421 I St.
                          Eureka, CA 95501

    Office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the office is open during the lunch hour.

  2. Family Self Help, which assists parties who have questions about divorce, legal separation, nullity, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, health insurance, and the availability of community resources to help families.

         Address:  825 Fifth St.
                            Room 310
                            Eureka, CA 95501

  3. Family Court Mediation Services, which provides child custody mediation and helps parents resolve child-focused disputes once parents are living apart.

         Address:   Family Court Mediation
                            825 Fifth Street
                            Room #305
                            Eureka, CA 95501
                            (707) 269-1223

Frequently Asked Questions

Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)

PLEASE NOTE: For dissolution of marriage or legal separation in California, there are only two legal grounds. The first is "irreconcilable differences", meaning that at least one party asserts that the marriage cannot be saved. The other reason is "incurable insanity" which, unlike irreconcilable differences, must be proven.

Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce): A dissolution of marriage, which is more commonly known as divorce, terminates the marriage and resolves marital issues including child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, asset and debt division (real and personal property), former name restoration, restraining orders, and other issues identified by the parties.

Summary Dissolution: If you and your spouse are in agreement that you want to divorce you may be able to obtain a summary dissolution. The criteria for a summary dissolution include:

  • You were married for under five years,
  • There were no children born during the marriage,
  • You have very few community assets and debts.
For more information about this option, which is less complicated than a regular dissolution of marriage, Click here.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is similar to dissolution of marriage, except that the parties remain married to each other. The court may make orders regarding the same issues identified in a dissolution of marriage.

If you open a legal separation action, you may amend your petition prior to judgment to request a dissolution of marriage. That will allow you to "start the clock" on the waiting period for divorce (six months from date of service), provided that you follow some special instructions.


A nullity is more commonly known as an annulment of marriage. This may only be requested if a party alleges incest, bigamy, minor without parental consent, unsound mind, fraud, force or incapacity to consummate marriage.

Domestic Partnerships

Dissolution of a domestic partnership terminates the partnership. You must be a resident of the state of California, both parties do not have to agree to the dissolution and it takes a minimum of six months for this action to become final.

Child and Spousal Support

To obtain or modify family support orders, establish parentage, or enforce existing family support orders, the Department of Child Support Services is available to assist you. Information concerning this office is available at


Private and Stepparent: Before granting a petition for adoption, the court authorizes an investigation of the adoptive parents(s), regardless of whether they are related to the children or stepparents. Parties are required to pay for these investigations. Typically, the court will also consider petitions to terminate parental rights of the parent(s) who are relinquishing their children in this process.

Domestic Violence

Parties alleging domestic violence may file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Domestic violence forms that you can complete on line are available here. Or click here.

Establishment of Parental Relationship

These are also called "paternity cases". The court may make findings of parental relationship in these matters that will have an effect on child support, visitation, and custody.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation

Even after marital and domestic partnership issues have been resolved, the court retains jurisdiction over issues that affect minor children in these proceedings until these children reach 18 years of age (or 19 years of age if still in high school). Parties may file motions to modify custody, support and visitation any time the circumstances warrant such filings. For a list of Supervised Visitation Providers for Humboldt County, please click here.

Emancipation of Minors

A minor may petition the court for a declaration of emancipation if the minor is at least 14 years of age, willingly lives separately from parents, and managing his own personal financial affairs.

© 2016 Superior Court of the County of Humboldt