e give notice and written permission to all social workers, teachers, doctors, or other people that have
important information about the screening issues, so they are available by telephone on the day of the screening.
Screenings will not be finished and court hearings may be rescheduled, if important information is not immediately
ALL PARTIES AND THEIR ATTORNEYS MUST RETURN TO THE COURTROOM WHEN THE EMERGENCY
SCREENING IS FINISHED. If your Emergency Screening took place at 191 North First Street, San José, CA,
please return to Department 15. If your Emergency Screening took place at Family Court Services 201 North First
Street, 5th Floor, San José, CA, please return to the courtroom designated by your screener.
T IS AN EMERGENCY SCREENING? An Emergency Screening (“Screening”) is an emergency investigation
which helps the Court make an immediate decision about child custody and visitation based on the best interests, health,
and safety of the child.
ES A SCREENING WORK? – An investigator (the “Screener”) from Family Court Services (“FCS”) will learn
about the child’s living situation and other issues relating to custody and visitation. Most Screenings take a few hours and
are usually finished on the same day they are started. Some will take longer.
Talk with the parties, their attorneys, and the child’s attorney, if s/he has one,
Read papers related to the emergency issues (see page 1 about giving papers to the other parties),
Look at criminal records of anyone living in the house with the child,
Talk to the child(ren) and watch how the child(ren) acts with the parties or family members,
Talk with other family members or witnesses by phone or in person,
Collect more information (such as: from school, daycare, a doctor, Child Protective Services (CPS), or the
reener will then make written recommendations first to the parties and their attorney(s). If all of the parties agree
with the recommendations and the recommendations are approved by the court, the recommendations will become court
Orders. If one or more of the parties does not agree with the recommendations, the screener’s recommendation will be
presented to the Judge and the parties will have a brief hearing in court with the Judge. In either case, the Judge will
make immediate temporary orders.
WHAT DOES A SCREENING COST AND WHO PAYS? – An Emergency Screening costs $160 per hour with a deposit
of $250 due from each party. Fees are generally shared between the parties unless a judge decides otherwise. You can
ask for a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the screening fees. The application form number is FW-001 and the order
form number is FW-003. You can get the fee waiver forms from www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm, the Probate Clerk’s
Office, Room 107, at 191 North First Street, or at FCS.
T IF THERE IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? – If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to have
separate interviews and to have a support person with you. You can get more information about these rights at FCS.
HOW DO I GET AN INTERPRETER? – If your screening is a few days in the future, you can call 408-534-5705 to ask the
court to get an interpreter for the screening. The court will do its best to find one for you. You may also bring your own
interpreter with you. It should be an adult who is not related to the case. The children involved in the case cannot act as
interpreters in the case. If you need an interpreter, be sure to tell your s
creener. FCS will try to get one
for you, if
IS A SCREENING CONFIDENTIAL? - Information given to FCS during a screening is not confidential from the court (the
Judge). This information may be included in reports or the screener may testify about it in court. FCS may not release
information about the case to any other person except as authorized by the court or by law.
DO I GET MORE INFORMATION? - More information about screenings is on the court’s website -
T IF I WANT HELP IN PERSON? – You can contact a private attorney (Santa Clara County Bar Association, 408-
971-6822 for a low-cost attorney consultation), Pro Bono Project, 408-998-5298, the Court’s Restraining Order Help
Center (if there is a restraining order, 201 North First Street, San José, 408-534-5709), or the Court’s Self-Help Center
and/or Family Law Facilitator’s office 201 North First Street, San José, 408-882-2900 x-2926).
PB-4046 REV 07/01/10
For Mandatory Use
EMERGENCY SCREENING INSTRUCTIONS Page 4 of 4