This rule is intended to improve the administration of the high volume of title IV-D child support hearings and conferences. Participation by both parents is needed for fair and accurate child support orders. The opportunity to appear by telephone fosters parental participation.
"Telephone appearance," as used in this rule, includes any appearance by telephonic, audiovisual, videoconferencing, digital, or other electronic means.
(c) Permissibility of telephone appearances.
Upon request, the court, in its discretion, may permit a telephone appearance in any hearing or conference related to an action for child support when the local child support agency is providing services under title IV-D of the Social Security Act.
A telephone appearance is not permitted for any of the following except as permitted by Family Code section 5700.316:
(1) Contested trials, contempt hearings, orders of examination, and any matters in which the party or witness has been subpoenaed to appear in person; and
(2) Any hearing or conference for which the court, in its discretion on a case-by-case basis, decides that a personal appearance would materially assist in a determination of the proceeding or in resolution of the case.
(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2017; previously amended effective January 1, 2008.)
(e) Request for telephone appearance.
(1) A party, an attorney, a witness, a parent who has not been joined to the action, or a representative of a local child support agency or government agency may request permission of the court to appear and testify by telephone. The local child support agency may request a telephone appearance on behalf of a party, a parent, or a witness when the local child support agency is appearing in the title IV-D support action, as defined by rule 5.300(c). The court may also, on its own motion, allow a telephone appearance.
(2) A party, an attorney, a witness, a parent who has not been joined to the action, or a representative of a local child support agency or government agency who wishes to appear by telephone at a hearing must file a request with the court clerk at least 12 court days before the hearing. A local child support agency that files the request for telephone appearance on behalf of a party, a parent, or a witness must file the request with the court clerk at least 12 court days before the hearing. This request must be served on the other parties, the local child support agency, and attorneys, if any. Service must be by personal delivery, fax, express mail, or other means reasonably calculated to ensure delivery by the close of the next court day.
(3) The mandatory Request for Telephone Appearance (Governmental) (form FL-679) must be filed to request a telephone appearance.
(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2008.)
(f) Opposition to telephone appearance.
Any opposition to a request to appear by telephone must be made by declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California. It must be filed with the court clerk and served at least eight court days before the court hearing. Service on the person or agency requesting the telephone appearance; all parties, including the other parent, a parent who has not been joined to the action, the local child support agency; and attorneys, if any, must be accomplished using one of the methods listed in (e)(2).
(Subd (f) amended effective January 1, 2007.)
(g) Shortening time.
The court may shorten the time to file, submit, serve, respond, or comply with any of the procedures specified in this rule.
(h) Notice by court.
At least five court days before the hearing, the court must notify the person or agency requesting the telephone appearance, the parties, and attorneys, if any, of its decision. The court may direct the court clerk, the court-approved vendor, the local child support agency, a party, or an attorney to provide the notification. This notice may be given in person or by telephone, fax, express mail, e-mail, or other means reasonably calculated to ensure notification no later than five court days before the hearing date.
(Subd (h) amended effective January 1, 2007.)
(i) Need for personal appearance.
If, at any time during the hearing, the court determines that a personal appearance is necessary, the court may continue the matter and require a personal appearance.
(j) Vendors, procedure, audibility, reporting, and information.
Rule 3.670(j)-(q) applies to telephone appearances under this rule.
(Subd (j) amended effective January 1, 2014; previously amended effective January 1, 2007, July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2011.)
(k) Technical equipment.
Courts that lack the technical equipment to implement telephone appearances are exempt from the rule.
Rule 5.324 amended effective January 1, 2017; adopted effective July 1, 2005; previously amended effective January 1, 2007, January 1, 2008, July 1, 2008, July 1, 2011, and January 1, 2014.