Family Court Services Child Custody Recommending Counseling Print this Page
Phone: (415) 444-7090
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 116
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm

How Child Custody Recommending Counseling Works

California law requires that parents who are unable to agree on a child-sharing plan must proceed to mandatory child custody recommending counseling (hereinafter "CCR counseling"). With the assistance of trained, professional child custody recommending counselors (hereinafter "CCR counselors"), parents will be given every opportunity to decide for themselves what will be in the best interests of their children. CCR counseling is generally more successful if parents understand the process and come prepared. Family Court Services encourages parents to seek guidance and support from their attorneys, therapists, family members and friends in developing a child-sharing proposal that meets the needs of both parents and children.

Initial Child Custody Recommending Counseling Session

  • Family Court Services will contact parents by letter to set an initial CCR counseling session;

  • The goal of the initial CCR counseling session will be to develop a co-parenting agreement.

    • If agreement is reached in CCR counseling, the CCR counselor will draft the agreement and both parents will sign it. Then, the judicial officer assigned to the case will sign the agreement, at which time it becomes a court order.

    • If agreement is not reached in CCR counseling, the CCR counselor will make a recommendation to the Court for a co-parenting agreement. Parents will attend an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing, at which time the CCR counselor's recommendation will be considered by the judicial officer and parents will have an opportunity to state their objections to the recommendation.

Order to Show Cause Hearing

  • The judicial officer presiding over the case will issue a tentative ruling the day before the hearing based on the information presented by both parents and the CCR counselor's recommendations. Information on how to obtain tentative rulings is available by clicking here.

    • If the parents agree with the judicial officer's tentative ruling, they do not need to appear at the Order to Show Cause hearing and the tentative ruling will become a permanent order of the court.

    • If a parent disagrees with the judicial officer's tentative ruling, that parent must notify the other parent and the Court that they will appear at the hearing the next day.

  • At the hearing, the judicial officer will hear what both parents have to say about the CCR counselor's recommendation.

  • The judicial officer may set a settlement conference or custody trial to address the areas of disagreement. The judicial officer may appoint a panel to assist the Court and the parties at settlement conferences. The panel may include attorneys and/or mental health professionals.

  • Experience requirements for attorney panelists may be obtained by reviewing California Rule of Court 10.781 and by clicking here.

  • Experience requirements for mental health professional panelists may be obtained by clicking here and reviewing Local Form CV055/FL055.

Helpful Information to Bring to Child Custody Recommending Counseling

Parents may find it helpful to bring the items listed below to CCR counseling appointments.

  • Yearly calendar, which identifies all holidays.
  • School calendar, which identifies all school holidays.
  • Parents' work schedules.
  • The amount of vacation time each parent has on a yearly basis.
  • List of children's extracurricular activities, including how each parent would like to be involved in these activities and who will transport children.


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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