General Information

Contact Dept

  • Phone:
  • Fax:
  • Address:
    2220 Tulare Street, Suite 300,
    Fresno, CA 93721
  • Email Department



In most family law cases, a person is not entitled to appointed counsel.  The Public Defender does not represent people in those cases. In those cases, we recommend people contact the Family Law Facilitator’s office.

However, after being appointed by the court, the Fresno County Public Defender’s office will represent a person in the following types of cases:

  • When an individual has been served with an Order to Show Cause and Declaration for Contempt for his or her alleged failure to pay child support.

  • When there is a court action to terminate an individual's parental rights.  Some actions to terminate a person's parental rights are handled by the dependency court.  The Dependency branch of the Fresno County Public Defender's Office handles those cases. 

The Fresno County Public Defender's Office does not represent individuals in the following areas:

  • Requests for modification of child support. These requests should be directed to the Family Law Facilitator’s office, (559) 497-6500. (If you're confident that you're able to fill in the paperwork correctly and file it yourself, you may use a packet of forms and instructions that the Fresno County Superior Court prepared.) You may wish to enter your financial information into the child support calculator maintained by the California Department of Child Support Services to see if a modification will reduce your child support. If you're disabled, unable to work, and have no other sources of income, fill out this form and contact the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services.
  • Compromise of Arrears Program (COAP) applications. Many people with past due child support owed to the government are eligible to have their child support reduced. You will need to apply through the Department of Child Support Services.   
  • Requests regarding the suspension of your driver’s license and/or your professional license unless there is an ongoing child support case where you are represented by the Public Defender office. There is a procedure in place to deal with license suspensions. First, you must meet with the Fresno County Department of Child Support Services to attempt to reach an agreement regarding terms for your license release. (Usually you must have made recent child support payments, have a new job, or have a job offer in writing.) If an agreement cannot be reached with the Department of Child Support Services, then you must go to the Court Clerks Office and file a request for a hearing on the denial of your request to have the suspension released. This request will usually be calendared for hearing within three weeks.
  • Requests for modification of custody and visitation orders. For requests of this nature you must contact a private attorney or file for the modification on your own (with or without the help of a paralegal typing service).  The Family Law Facilitator’s office offers some assistance in this area.