To assist parents of minor age children in reorganizing their family following separation or divorce in a manner that will enable the children to continue having healthy relationships with both parents.
Mediation is required by California State law when parents are in disagreement about the custody of their child/ren. Mediation is a process of assisting parents in developing a parenting plan and is a neutral setting for discussing arrangements for the children, and to reduce acrimony and provide guidelines for parenting after separation or divorce. Mediation is a means of settling parenting disputes outside of court. Each parent is given the opportunity to be heard, and the objective is to develop parenting plans that meet the needs of the child/ren. Mediation is confidential from the Court process, and the mediator does not make recommendations to the Court if the parents are in disagreement. If an agreement is reached, the stipulation/agreement is submitted to the Court only after the parties have agreed in writing.
Prior to parents attending mediation they must have an open Superior Court case with a file number. Examples of Court filings are: a divorce, legal separation, paternity action, child support case, etc. There is no charge for mediation.
If a mediation is elective, the parent who is making the appointment must give the other parent a minimum of 10 days prior notice. In situations where one party cancels a scheduled appointment, the other party must also call and cancel the appointment for FCS to register a cancellation. Otherwise, one party may be reported as a non-appearance.
Family Court Services can accommodate requests for long distance and out of state telephone mediation for parents who reside outside San Luis Obispo County. All telephone mediations must be approved by FCS prior to the scheduled appointment. For telephonic mediations a Mediation Intake Form (see above) must be received by the parent pre-approved to call in at least 24 hours prior to the appointment time. The intake form can be faxed to 805-781-1131 or mailed to the FCS address below.
New spouses, significant other relationships and extended family members are not to be included unless previously approved by Family Court Services. Children are not included unless previously arranged by Family Court Services. Please conatact FCS prior to your appointment if you wish to have a support person present because of domestic violence or if you have any questions about who is to attend mediation in your particular matter. Please do not bring your children to mediation.
In cases involving domestic violence mediation is conducted in a manner to protect all the parties. Family Court Services' policy is to meet with each party separately. FCS schedules each appointment on separate days. FCS's goal is to protect all parties during the mediation experience in order to create the best possible environment to help families develop parenting plans with as little conflict as possible and with the highest level of satisfaction possible.
In cases with ongoing unresolved disputes between parents, the Court may order a child custody evaluation. The evaluation is conducted by a court appointed evaluator. The focus of a child custody evaluation is to assess the individual and family factors that affect the best interests of the child/ren. The primary purpose and function of a child custody evaluation is to gather information about the family in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, and to report back to the court with a recommendation for a parenting plan that will help the child/ren maintain relationships with both parents in a manner that best serves his/her needs.
To accomplish this end, a child custody evaluation usually includes (1) an assessment of each parent's historical involvement and current capacities for parenting and their ability to manage conflict; (2) an assessment of the child's functioning and developmental needs and the child's wishes where appropriate; and (3) an assessment of each parent's functional ability to meet the child's needs, which includes evaluation of the interaction between each adult and child.
Some evaluations are much more limited in scope than others. This will be described in the evaluation order. Your evaluator will review the process for your family during your first appointment with them.
If a custody evaluation is ordered by the court for your family, please be sure to read through the order carefully. We need your help to get things started, and the order will give you directions on how to proceed. Contact Family Court Services with any questions at 805-781-5423.
With an ordered custody evaluation only, we require that each parent fill out the following form and deliver it to Family Court Services:
Parenting After Separation is a class which addresses the needs of children whose parents maintain separate households. The class also provides information about the mediation process and the "how to" of maintaining an ongoing co-parental relationship. The class is online and self-paced.
This program satisfies the Court's requirements for parent education prior to receiving final orders. When you complete the class after registering online, you will be immediately emailed a certificate of completion. Simply file this certificate with the court in San Luis Obispo at 1035 Palm Street, Rm 385 or at the Paso Robles Branch at 901 Park Street.
The class can be accessed through the following link: http://parenting.familieschange.ca.gov/
NINOS: EL DESAFIO DEL DIVORCIO
REGISTRO: Llame a la oficina de antemano a los Servicios de la Corte de Relaciones Familiares para registrarse y obtener informacion, al numero 781-5423. Debe tener disponible el numero del caso civil o del divorcio para darselo al secretario. Clases en espanol son ofrecidas, y son citadas de acuerdo con los registrados.
* Este programa satisface los requisitos del programa de educacion antes de que se le otorga las ordenes judiciales para finalizar el caso.
Free Spanish Language Parenting Class
Family Court Services
1120 Mill St. Suite A-1
San Luis Obispo
For further information, please contact our offices:
Family Law: 805-781-5706
If you have filed a stepparent or domestic partner adoption request, please fill out the following questionnaire and deliver to Family Court Services.