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Family Court Services and child custody mediation

Family Court Services

Family Court Services provides Child Custody Mediation, Partial (limited assessment) and Full (comprehensive) Child Custody Evaluation services for parties in Family Law cases in which custody and visitation are being disputed. Mediation is conducted by Family Court Services Staff. Partial and Full and Custody Evaluations are conducted by private mental health professionals under contract with the Placer Superior Court as court-connected Child Custody Recommending Counselors and Evaluators. Family Court Services coordinates the assignments and referrals to the contracted court professionals. Family Court Services also provides an online child custody and mediation orientation to prepare parties to participate in mediation successfully.

You can access the Child Custody Mediation online orientation video here.

Puede ver el video de orientación de Mediación de Custodia de Hijos Menores aquí.

Family Court Services Mediation Local Rules

Family Court Services Evaluation Local Rules

Tiered Mediation Model

Placer Superior Court uses a two-tiered mediation model. Mediation is required, per Family Code Section 3170, whenever issues of child custody and visitation are in dispute. The goal of mediation is to help parties develop an agreement on a parenting plan in their children’s best interest.

A judge may order parents to either tier of mediation or to repeat a given tier.


Tier 1: Confidential Mediation
All parties are required to attempt mediation and may do so prior to seeing a judge. Tier 1 Mediation is confidential to the parties. Full or partial agreements are helpful in a quicker resolution of your case.


Tier 2: Mediation with Information Gathering
A Judge may order a Tier 2 Mediation with Information Gathering after Tier 1 Mediation, or at any other point in the court case. The information gathering will focus on areas of concern for the Judge and may include interviews with children. Tier 2 will result in a report being provided to the judge to inform court decisions in the best interest of the children.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody Mediation/Recommending Counseling

If there has been a history of domestic violence between the parents and a protective or restraining order is in effect, or a parent alleges domestic violence in a written declaration, the mediator will meet with the parents separately and at separate times at the request of the parent.
If a court has issued a protective order, a support person is permitted to accompany a party protected by the order during any Mediation session, including separate sessions. However, the support person cannot participate in the session. Mediator may exclude a support person from the session if the support person participates in the session, or acts as an advocate, or if the presence of a particular support person is disruptive or disrupts the process of mediation. The support person is also bound by the confidentiality of the mediation session.

If there has been domestic violence in your family, click here for important information about a law that may affect you.

Child Custody Evaluations

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