Do whatever you can to separate your feelings about your child's other parent from what your child needs from that parent. Take into consideration what children need from their parents and others at difference ages. Bring at least two different proposals about how your child can spend time with you and his or her other parent. Be prepared to listen to your child's other parent's ideas so that the two of you can have a discussion about what might work for everyone. Make a list of any specific concerns about your child's other parent so that they can be addressed in putting together the plan for your child.
7. What if we can't reach an agreement during child custody recommending counseling?
In most cases, parties can successfully resolve and agree on custody and parenting time issues. However, if the parties are unable to reach a full or even partial agreement, the Family Court Counselor will prepare a written recommendation to the court on the issues that the parties have been unable to agree on. In some cases, especially where there is a great deal of hostility between parents or serious allegations such as abuse or neglect, the Family Court Counselor may recommend a temporary custody and/or parenting plan. However, the Family Court Counselor can only make recommendations. It is the judge who will make the final decision. Back to Top
8. Can I submit information to FCS before my child custody recommending counseling
Fill out Family Court Services Data Sheet (SDSC FCS-002) before your child custody recommending counseling appointment. However, for all other information, please refer to Local Court Rules.
9. Can I talk to the Family Court Counselor before or after the FCS appointment?
"Ex parte communication" is not allowed by parties or attorneys at any time before a judge has made a final decision in the case. Ex parte communication means one party (or attorney) contacting the Family Court Counselor without the other party being present or having knowledge of the nature of the discussion.
10. What if I miss my FCS appointment?
Because of the short time frame between the FCS appointment and the court hearing, another appointment cannot be scheduled. If one or both parties fail to attend child custody recommending counseling, the session will not occur and the court notified of your failure to attend. If this occurs, it is important that you still appear at the court hearing on the date scheduled. However, both parties should be prepared to provide an explanation to the judge as to why they were unable to attend child custody recommending counseling. Back to Top
11. Do children attend child custody recommending counseling?
No. If the Family Court Counselor needs to interview the child/ren, an interview will be scheduled for another time.
12. Are both parties interviewed together?
Yes. Family Court Counselors interview both parties together. The exception to this policy is if there has been an alleged history of domestic violence, or when there is a protective order in effect and one party has requested separate interviews.
13. I have a domestic violence restraining order. May I bring a support person?
Yes. A support person may accompany you to child custody recommending counseling. However, the support person cannot participate in, and is required to maintain confidentiality of, the child custody recommending counseling session.
A Family Court Counselor may exclude a support person from a session if:
- The support person attempts to participate in the session;
- The support person acts as an advocate for the victim in a session;
- The support person's presence or actions disrupt the session.
For additional information click here. Back to Top
14. What is the Family Court Services report?
At the conclusion of your FCS session, the Family Court Counselor will identify in writing those issues on which you reached an agreement as well as those issues on which you were unable to reach agreement. This is known as the FCS Report. As previously mentioned, the Family Court Counselor will make a written recommendation to the court on any issues that have not been resolved during child custody recommending counseling. The parties will receive a copy of the recommendation in writing prior to the court hearing.
15. What happens if there is a Family Court Counselor conflict of interest?
Child custody recommending counseling of cases that involve family law attorneys or their spouses, relatives, friends, or co-workers of the Family Court Counselor may present a conflict of interest. It is the policy of the court to avoid conflicts or the appearance of a conflict of interest. Therefore, in these cases, parties may be referred to other Family Court Services sites for child custody recommending counseling.
16. Do Family Court Counselors report to Child Protective Services?
Family Court Services Counselors are "mandated reporters." This means they are legally obligated to report to Child Protective Services (CPS) any situation that may pose an imminent danger or risk to the child(ren). Back to Top
17. What if I have a complaint about FCS services?
Family Court Services is committed to the delivery of quality services. If you have a complaint regarding services received, you may register your complaint utilizing a Family Court Services Client Complaint Form (SDSC FCS-044) sent to the Manager of Family Court Services at 1100 Union Street 4th floor, San Diego CA 92101. A copy of that complaint must be provided to the other parent.