The long awaited consolidation of the family law departments in the Alameda County Superior Court appears to be complete. All of the family law departments that had previously been conducting business at the George E. McDonald Hall of Justice in the City of Alameda have been moved to, and consolidated with the family law departments at, the Hayward Hall of Justice in the City of Hayward. From this point forward the business of all ten family law departments in Alameda County will take place in courtrooms at the Hayward Hall of Justice. With the consolidation all pending family law cases have been randomly redistributed amongst the various judges to ensure a balanced case load for each judge.
In a further effort to reorganize and increase efficiency in the family law departments all child custody recommending counselor services have been consolidated and moved to one location at the Alameda County Office Building, 224 West Winton Avenue, Hayward, which is right next door to the courthouse. The other big change with regard to child custody recommending counseling is that there are no longer appointments before the custody hearing. Instead parties with parenting conflicts will either have mandatory counseling on the same day as their hearing, or will be issued a counseling appointment date at the first hearing, and then a follow-up hearing will be scheduled. How this increases the efficiency of the process is unclear – only time will tell?