UPDATE: WE NO LONGER RECOMMEND USING THE OFFICIAL FAMILY COURT SERVICES COMPLAINT FORM
1. If you experience problems during your mediation appointment, please make Judge Thomsen aware of your concerns. The most effective way to alert the judge of any problems you experience in mediation is to incorporate your concerns into your next motion. Although the Family Court Services Department has a complaint form available, these complaints will not be shared with the family court judge. If you want Judge Thomsen to be aware of any problems you encountered during your mediation appointment, you will need to file a supplemental declaration that describes your mediation experience. Your attorney or the Facilitator’s Office can help guide you through this process.
Addressing complaints in this way will increase the mediators’ accountability for the quality of their work. The Family Court Reformers are campaigning for greater accountability of mediation departments locally and throughout the state. We are currently cataloging client complaints for future use. If you would like to send a copy of your motion/ complaint to the Family Court Reformers, please email us or send a copy to Emily Gallup at 565 Brunswick #9, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
2. If your complaint is against a judicial officer, complete the “Complaint About a California Judge, Court Commissioner or Referee” form. Mail your form to the Commission on Judicial Performance at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14400, San Francisco, CA 94102. Instructions and more information are available online at http://cjp.ca.gov/ but note that complaints cannot be submitted electronically.
3. You will need to file a new motion if you want to have your case reconsidered. Filing a complaint against a mediator or judicial officer will not affect the recommendations or orders that were made in your case. If you decide to ask for your case to be reconsidered, you have two main options. The first is to file a motion with the court citing a “change of circumstances.” You can reference your concerns about the way your case was originally handled in your motion, but your case will likely be rejected if your motion is based on allegations of court misconduct. Your other option is to file a new motion with the appellate court: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/courtsofappeal/3rdDistrict/.