William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse

201410.02

The William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse is one of the newest buildings in the Sacramento County court system. The courthouse was officially opened to the public in February of 2000. The building is named after a popular judge who sat on the bench for over 13 years. William Ridgeway eventually ascended to the position of Presiding Judge. The courthouse sits in the middle of 260 acres of land. It is surrounded by an office park. The building has three floors. The main purpose of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse is to handle family law cases dealing with domestic disputes, children and issues like probate hearings.

Self-Help Center and Resource Room

The first floor of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse contains a self-help center and resource room. The self-help center is a place where any person can get legal advice about filing a family law case. The facilitator in the center can answer common legal questions and can provide help filling out paperwork. The attached resource room contains a large amount of information about community services that could help people having family problems. The resource room is staffed by knowledgeable people from local community organizations.

Family Court Services

The family court services area of the courthouse is where things like mediation and evaluation take place. This area is used when a minor wants to become emancipated, when there are child custody disputes or when minors want to get married. A service provided here is an orientation class that is open to anyone. The orientation is designed to educate and prepare people for the evaluation and mediation processes that might occur. Family court services are usually needed after someone is referred to the area from a courtroom.

The Courtrooms

Most of the second floor and some of the third floor of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse is dedicated to courtrooms. These are the rooms where official trials and hearings take place. It is possible that an adult or a juvenile in these courtrooms could be remanded into custody unless bail is paid. A bail bond agency can help to sort out how much has to be paid. A bondsman can post the bail so that the individual is released from jail. The bail amount is held until the court case against the defendant is resolved. The money is then returned afterwards. Bail allows a juvenile or adult to spend the duration of the trial at home instead of in a jail.

Adoption Celebrations

Many legal adoptions take place in the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse every year. The entire courthouse celebrates these adoptions with a special event called Adoption Day. The children who were adopted create tiles that contain a single handprint. The tiles that are created can be seen in the hallways along the first floor of the courthouse. The event brings together parents, newly adopted children and representatives from other agencies who helped to make the adoption a reality.