Other Important Information
If Child Custody Mediation has not resulted in a full agreement, the Judicial Officer has discretion to order further process through Family Court Services, including but not limited to Information Gathering by a Recommending Counselor and/or Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC). These additional processes may be ordered by the Family Law Judicial Officer in the exercise of his/her discretion according to the availability of resources and needs of each case.
Information Gathering (Tier II) - The purpose of Tier II sessions is to provide the Court with additional information regarding specific areas deemed significant by the Judicial Officer. A summary report will be provided to the Court and parties which may include, but not be limited to, a description of contacts with Child Protective Services (CPS), law enforcement agencies, interviews with the child(ren), etc. The counselor will only interview and/or provide additional information regarding the specific areas or persons identified by the Judicial Officer. Information Gathering summary report will not include any recommendations.
The Court may order for the child(ren) to participate in the Information Gathering session. If ordered by the Court, the counselor will conduct a private interview with each child or make an observation of the child. If the Court has ordered that the child(ren) be interviewed as part of the Information Gathering session, please make sure to bring your child(ren) to the Information Gathering appointment with the assigned counselor.
Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC - Tier III) – The purpose of the CCRC is to provide the Court with a report and recommendation from the counselor. CCRC session may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the parents and/or other parties joined to the case, children, and other individuals and organizations who may have information about the situation. The sessions are not confidential and the counselor will make a recommendation to the Court on all items still in dispute. The counselor’s recommended plan regarding custody and visitation will be made available to the parties before the court hearing.
The counselor has the discretion to see and/or interview the children associated with the case. Please speak with the assigned counselor before the appointment to ensure that the children that the counselor would like to meet with and/or interview are available at the time of the CCRC appointment.
Conflict of interest
Cases that involve family law attorneys or their spouses, relatives, friends, or co-workers of the 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 a Family Court Services program in another jurisdiction.
A mediator CCRC will not handle a case in which they perceive that a serious conflict of interest exists, and shall be relieved of the assignment.
Expedited referrals from the court
The court may refer parties to participate in an expedited Child Custody Recommending Counseling. Generally this occurs in cases where either parent presents an immediate danger or risk of harm to the child(ren). Parties are usually seen by the Child Custody Recommending Counselor within several days of the referral being made. A date to return to court is usually set to occur within 14 days following the referral. Expedited referrals may involve, but are not limited to, the following situations:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse or neglect
- Domestic violence
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Allegations of flight risk or abduction
Reports to Child Protective Services
Mediator and Child Custody Recommending Counselors may report any suspected child abuse, elder abuse, and/or if someone is a danger to themselves or others.
Complaints about FCS Services
Family Court Services is committed to the delivery of quality services. If you should have a complaint regarding services received, you may register your complaint orally or in writing to the Director of FCS at 916-408-6310.
Availability of Child Custody Recommending Counselors for Testimony
A party may subpoena or take the deposition of a CCRC that conducted a Tier II or Tier III session after the issuance of their summary report. A party may not subpoena or take the deposition of a mediator that conducted Tier I in the absence of a court order. The hourly rate for testimony will be set by the court-connected (contracted) CCRC and shall be paid at the time the subpoena is served. The court-connected CCRC may also require a deposit for time expended preparing for the testimony. A party seeking to take the deposition of a CCRC must provide them at least thirty (30) calendar days advance notice.
Rules regarding Child Custody Mediation, Information Gathering and Child Custody Recommending Counseling can be found in the section 30.1 of the Local Rule (please see http://www.placer.courts.ca.gov/local-rules.html for Placer County Superior Court’s Local Rules of Court)..