Family Court Services Conflict Management Print this Page
Phone: (415) 444-7090
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 113
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm

Guidelines to Help Parents Diminish Conflict

  1. Your mutual concern is the rearing of your children. Be businesslike. Be polite. Do not use bad language or name-calling. Do not try to conduct business under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. If you sense that you are becoming upset, say so, and agree to resume the conversation at a later time.

  2. Do not discuss any issues with the other parent in the presence of the children; limit your conversation when the children are exchanged to a simple "hello" and "goodbye."

  3. Any phone calls about the children should be limited to only that topic; tell the other parent in advance whether you are calling to discuss the children or some other issue.

  4. Do not send messages for the other parent through your child. Talk to the other parent directly, by phone or by mail if necessary.

  5. Be very clear with each other about your plans for time with the children; include specific dates and times. Do not change any plans without first calling or discussing the proposed change with the other parent. Changes should be made by mutual agreement.

  6. To be sure each parent has the same information, follow up the discussion of any arrangement or agreement in writing, and send a copy to the other parent.

  7. Talk together to teachers, doctors, or other involved professionals to help resolve differences of opinion about what is best for your children.

  8. Each parent is responsible for the children's daily care when they are present. Certainly, it is important for parents to consult with each other regarding any changes in the child's educational and medical care, in advance of the change.

  9. Above all, cultivate goodwill in the partnership of raising your children. Keep in mind the importance of your investment and the expected returns. The investment is what you are willing to do for your children's happiness and success in life. The returns are comfort and security for your children, and the knowledge that their parents care enough about them to make their lives free from conflict.


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.

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