Family Court Services
Family Court Services (FCS) provides child custody recommending counseling in family law cases when separating or divorcing parents cannot agree on a child custody sharing plan.
Child custody recommending counseling is provided in a private counseling office with a court counselor. The FCS conference allows both parents to work together toward a mutually acceptable agreement which is in the best interest of the children. The FCS session will last approximately 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. For additional information, view the Family Court Services Orientation Video, also available in Spanish. Back to Top
Mandatory Child Custody Recommending Counseling
In any dissolution matter regarding child custody and visitation where there is a dispute, (Family Code section §3170) mandates that the case be set for child custody recommending counseling prior to the court hearing. If agreement is reached, it is reported to the court (through the attorneys) and thus the court hearing may be cancelled since the family made its own decision. If no agreement is reached, a recommendation will be made by the court counselor and the court hearing will proceed. Back to Top
The Purpose of Family Court Services
Consistent with the spirit of California law, the purpose of Family Court Services is to:
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- Assist families in the settlement of domestic controversies involving the welfare of children where there is an action in Family Court.
- Try to ensure children get frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the dissolution of marriage or end of a relationship.
- Encourage parents to cooperate and share the rights and responsibilities of parenting during and following a dissolution.
- Investigate guardianship cases scheduled for the Probate Court when the prospective guardian is a relative of the child. The investigation will help try to ensure the needs of the child will be met. (Probate Code §1513 & Family Code §3110).
Legal Terms Relating to Child Custody
Visitation: The designated time in which the non-custodial parent shall have responsibility of the children.
Legal Custody: The rights and responsibilities of parents to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of their children.
Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
Sole Legal Custody: One parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
Physical Custody: How much time the children spend with each parent; where the children live; how day-to-day responsibilities are fulfilled.
Joint Physical Custody: Children spend a significant amount of time with each parent. Back to Top
Locations and Phone Numbers
FCS offices are conveniently located in each family law location throughout the county (except Madge Bradley).
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- San Diego, (619) 450-7888 1555 Sixth Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
- El Cajon, (619) 456-4181 250 E. Main St. El Cajon, CA 92020
- Vista, (760) 201-8300 325 S. Melrose Drive, Vista, CA 92081
- South County, (619) 746-6097 500 Third Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910