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Child Custody Recommending Counseling

Mandated CCRC
Family Code section 3170 requires CCRC whenever issues of custody or visitation are in dispute. This applies whenever a "party to the cause" wants to obtain or change a custody or visitation order and the other party does not agree to the change.

What is Child Custody Recommending Counseling? 
CCRC is a form of negotiation between people with the help of a professional counselor who will assist them in reaching an agreement regarding custody and parenting issues.

Family Court Services CCRC is provided free of charge to the parties and generally occurs before the first court appearance. Judicial officers have discretion to impose sanctions regarding the payment of mediation fees under certain circumstances.

What is the purpose of CCRC?  

  1. To help reduce the hostility that may exist between the parties;
  2. To develop an agreement that assures the child(ren) frequent and continuing contact with both parents and that assures the health, safety and welfare of the child(ren).
  3. To achieve a resolution of the issues of custody and rights to parenting time that is in the best interest of the child(ren).

What does CCRC include? 
Mediation may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the parents, child(ren), other parties who may be legally joined to the case, and other individuals who may have information about the situation.

CCRC also includes the review by the CCRC of the CCRC Information Packet form that is completed prior to attending CCRC. Other relevant documents may be reviewed provided they have been properly served to the other party.

When does CCRC occur? 
Generally CCRC occurs approximately six weeks before the scheduled court hearing on disputed custody and visitation issues.

Who conducts the CCRC? 
The court contracts with experienced Family Law Counselors who have master's degrees and specialized training in areas pertaining to children and families. These areas include, but are not limited to, conflict resolution, parenting techniques, children's developmental stages, domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse and neglect.

What if we can't reach an agreement during CCRC? 
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 CCRC 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 CCRC may recommend a temporary custody and/or parenting plan and also recommend that the court order a custody evaluation before making permanent orders. However, the CCRC can only make recommendations. It is the Judge who will make the final decision.

What is a custody evaluation or 3111 report? 
A custody evaluation is an in-depth study into the family dynamics with the goal of providing a detailed parenting plan which is in the child(ren's) best interests. This may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the parents, children, other parties who may be legally joined to the case, and other individuals who may have information about the situation. The evaluation may also include evaluations written by other mental health professionals, or other important reports (i.e., court records, police reports, etc.) relating to the family. The evaluator may also visit the home or the school site as appropriate.

A custody evaluation generally takes 60 to 90 days to complete and the parties must pay a fee for this service. A separate brochure is available upon request.

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