Family Court Services provides child custody recommending counseling (hereinafter "CCR counseling") services. California law requires
parents who are unable to agree on a child-sharing plan to attend CCR counseling before a court hearing to try
to reach agreement. CCR counseling gives parents an opportunity to resolve child-focused disputes by reaching
agreement about these issues. Parents usually feel better about these arrangements when they have input into
the decision-making process. If they cannot agree about time sharing arrangements for minor children, the
judicial officer presiding over the case will issue orders regarding the time sharing arrangements.
Child custody and visitation CCR counseling is free and does not require the assistance of an attorney. It
is intended to help parents through difficult changes in their family structure with dignity and support. The
child custody recommending counselors, all skilled professionals in the mental health field, have a great deal of experience with children
and can assist parents who need to make wise, but difficult, choices during stressful times.
Family Court Services works with parents who have never married, who are in the process of divorcing, or who
have separated some time ago but have reached a new turning point in their lives and need help making co-parenting
decisions. Occasionally, Family Court Services works with grandparents and adoptive parents.
Family Court Services' goal is always to empower both parents equally in order to reach decisions that both
parents can support. When parents jointly reach decisions, their children maintain a sense that both are equally
important and involved in their lives. This does not necessarily mean that children will spend exactly the same
amount of time with each parent (it is often impossible or undesirable to divide time evenly), but it does mean
that each parent should feel he or she has significant time with the child and makes an important contribution
to the child's life. Children fare better in these stressful situations when they feel loved by both parents and
are encouraged to love and respect each parent.
An Introduction to Family Court Services.
Coming to Family Court Services for CCR counseling may seem frightening and confusing for parents and children. Please
view the CCR Counseling Orientation materials below for answers to the most frequently asked questions about
this process. Family Court Services is available to parties throughout the CCR counseling and resolution process.
Even after custody and visitation agreements are reached by parents, sometimes circumstances change which require a
modification to existing agreements. Family Court Services is available to help parents resolve disputes in these
situations as well, until all minor children are 18 years of age.
Child Custody Recommending Counseling Orientation online or In Print.
Parties are strongly encouraged to learn about the process in Family Court Services. Family Court Services offers
an Orientation presentation online. For more information, a booklet including a printed version of the
slideshow is also available online. Download free Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing the orientation
materials in English or in Spanish.
Child Custody Definitions.
Sole legal custody means that one parent has the exclusive right to make decisions affecting the health,
welfare and education of a child. More commonly, the Court awards "joint" legal custody of children to both parents
so that both continue to be involved in important decisions affecting their children.
Joint legal custody describes shared parental decisions over the child's health, education and welfare, but
this does not mean that all decisions require parental concurrence on a daily basis.
Sole physical custody is granted to one parent, but the Court almost always grants visitation rights to the
Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that the child spends equal time with each parent. In fact,
an order for joint physical custody may specify that the child's primary residence will be with one parent.
Please note: A joint custody court order does not necessarily mean that a child must split all of his or her
time equally between parents. A parent's financial stability, relative to the other parent, is not a factor in
determining the custody arrangements for the children. The Court's primary focus is on the child's needs, and thus
on emotional -- not material -- factors. Accordingly, if a parent's financial resources are insufficient to provide
proper care for the child, the remedy is a child support award, not denial of custody. In determining custody of
minor children, California law requires the Court to make orders that serve the 'best interests of the child.'
Accordingly, the Court seeks to achieve that standard in its custody and visitation orders.
More Information on Child Custody Recommending Counseling.
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.