Child Custody Recommending Counseling When Domestic Violence is Alleged
Domestic Violence may occur in many forms between two people in an intimate relationship. Physical
violence includes kicking, punching, shoving, slapping or any other physical acts. Sexual violence includes
unwelcome touching, fondling or forced intimacy. Emotional violence includes using coercion, threats or anger
to create a controlling and fearful relationship.
Parents must notify Family Court Services if there has been a history of domestic violence or if there is a
concern about potential domestic violence
The presence of domestic violence is ALWAYS harmful to children and inappropriate in all families! Children
who have witnessed or overheard severe or repeated incidents of violence involving their parents are likely to be
traumatized. These children are at risk for developing emotional, behavioral and social problems. Even those children
who do not directly witness the abuse are affected by the climate of violence in their homes and are likely to
experience impaired development and socialization skills.
Even very young children and infants are negatively affected by domestic violence. For these reasons, children - as
well as adults - need to be protected from exposure to threats of violence or actual violence by a parent, caretaker,
or other adults. Please be advised that mediators are required by law to report instances or suspicion of child
Separate Child Custody Recommending Counseling in Cases in Which Domestic Violence is Alleged
Where there has been a history of domestic violence or fear of potential violence, a parent has a right to request
to meet separately with the child custody recommending counselor (hereinafter "CCR counselor"). These requests should be
made in advance so that the CCR counselor is ready to
Support Person Present in Child Custody Recommending Counseling
Where there has been a history of domestic violence or fear of potential violence, a parent has a right to bring a
support person to the child custody recommending counseling (hereinafter "CCR counseling") session. The request to bring a
support person must be made in advance. The support
person must be willing to abide by the process of the counseling.
Exclusion of Support Person from Child Custody Recommending Counseling
A child custody recommending counselor may exclude a support person from a CCR counseling session if:
- The support person attempts to participate in the CCR counseling session;
- The support person acts as an advocate for the victim in a CCR counseling session;
- The support person's presence disrupts the process of the CCR counseling; or
- The support person's actions disrupt the CCR counseling session.
Other Safety Considerations
A parent may request an escort off the premises of the courthouse following an appointment at Family
Court Services. The addresses and phone numbers of parents alleging domestic violence will be kept confidential by
Family Court Services staff.
When parents are involved in domestic violence, both the victim and the abuser are encouraged to seek professional
counseling assistance. Children exposed to domestic violence should also receive counseling. Some local agencies
which specialize in providing services for families of domestic violence are listed in Community Resources.
California law requires parents who are unable to agree on a child-sharing plan to attend child custody recommending counseling before a
court hearing to try to reach agreement.