Mediation is required by California State law when parents are in disagreement about the custody of their child/ren. Mediation is a process of assisting parents in developing a parenting plan and is a neutral setting for discussing arrangements for the children, and to reduce acrimony and provide guidelines for parenting after separation or divorce. Mediation is a means of settling parenting disputes outside of court. Each parent is given the opportunity to be heard, and the objective is to develop parenting plans that meet the needs of the child/ren. Mediation is confidential from the Court process, and the mediator does not make recommendations to the Court if the parents are in disagreement. If an agreement is reached, the stipulation/agreement is submitted to the Court only after the parties have agreed in writing.
For more information regarding the procedures for scheduling a mediation appointment, contact Family Court Services between the hours of 8:30 am and 4 pm on Monday through Thursday at (805) 706-3608.
Mediation by Phone
Family Court Services can accommodate requests for long distance and out of state telephone mediation for parents who reside outside San Luis Obispo County. All telephone mediations must be approved by FCS prior to the scheduled appointment. For telephonic mediations a Mediation Intake Form (see below) must be received by the parent pre-approved to call in at least 24 hours prior to the appointment time.
The intake form can be sent to Family Court Services via email at email@example.com, by fax at (805) 706-0210, or mailed to the following address:
Family Court Services
1050 Monterey St., Rm. 224
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
Mediation is for parents only
New spouses, significant other relationships and extended family members are not to be included unless previously approved by Family Court Services. Children are not included unless previously arranged by Family Court Services. Please contact FCS prior to your appointment if you wish to have a support person present because of domestic violence or if you have any questions about who is to attend mediation in your particular matter. Please do not bring your children to mediation.
- Mediation Intake Form
- Mediation Orientation
- Mediation Exit Survey
- Domestic Violence and Child Custody
Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders
In cases involving domestic violence, mediation is conducted in a manner to protect all the parties. Family Court Services' policy is to meet with each party separately. FCS schedules each appointment at separate times. FCS's goal is to protect all parties during the mediation experience in order to create the best possible environment to help families develop parenting plans with as little conflict as possible and with the highest level of satisfaction possible.
Child Custody Evaluations
REGISTRO: Llame a la oficina de antemano a los Servicios de la Corte de Relaciones Familiares para registrarse y obtener informacion, al numero 805-226-3251. Debe tener disponible el numero del caso civil o del divorcio para darselo al secretario. Clases en espanol son ofrecidas, y son citadas de acuerdo con los registrados.
Este programa satisface los requisitos del programa de educacion antes de que se le otorga las ordenes judiciales para finalizar el caso.
In cases with ongoing unresolved disputes between parents, the Court may order a child custody evaluation. The evaluation is conducted by a court appointed evaluator. The focus of a child custody evaluation is to assess the individual and family factors that affect the best interests of the child/ren. The primary purpose and function of a child custody evaluation is to gather information about the family in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, and to report back to the court with a recommendation for a parenting plan that will help the child/ren maintain relationships with both parents in a manner that best serves his/her needs.
To accomplish this end, a child custody evaluation usually includes (1) an assessment of each parent's historical involvement and current capacities for parenting and their ability to manage conflict; (2) an assessment of the child's functioning and developmental needs and the child's wishes where appropriate; and (3) an assessment of each parent's functional ability to meet the child's needs, which includes evaluation of the interaction between each adult and child.
Some evaluations are much more limited in scope than others. This will be described in the evaluation order. Your evaluator will review the process for your family during your first appointment with them.
If a custody evaluation is ordered by the court for your family, please be sure to read through the order carefully. We need your help to get things started, and the order will give you directions on how to proceed. Contact Family Court Services with any questions at 805-706-3608.
With an ordered custody evaluation only, we require that each parent fill out the following forms and deliver them to Family Court Services:
- Family Court Services Intake Form (AKA: Custody evaluation personal data sheet)
- Release of Information
NOTE: For full evaluations, please complete a release of information form for each treatment professional who is working with or has recently worked with you and your children (IE: schools, therapists, pediatricians). For partial evaluations you only need to complete release of information forms for those professionals outlined in your order.
If the court has ordered that the evaluation only consist of interviewing your children, then you will need to turn in the following form to Family Court Services instead of the forms outlined above:
La Crianza De Los Hijos Despues De Separacion es una clase que se ocupa de las necesidades de los ninos cuyos padres mantienen hogares separados. La clase tambien proporciona informacion sobre el proceso de mediacion y el “como” de mantener una constante relacion co-parental. La clase esta en linea y a su propio ritmo.
Este programa satisfice las exigencies del tribunal,para la educacion de los padres antes de recibir las ordines finales. Cuando termine la clase despues de registrarse en linea, se le enviara un certificado de finalizacion por correo electronico. Archive simplemente este certificado con el tribunal en San Luis Obispo, Ca. en 1035 Palm St. Rm. 385 o en la sucursal de Paso Robles, Ca. localizado en 901 Park St. in Paso Robles, Ca.
Parenting After Separation is a class which addresses the needs of children whose parents maintain separate households. The class also provides information about the mediation process and the "how to" of maintaining an ongoing co-parental relationship. The class is online and self-paced.
This program satisfies the Court's requirements for parent education prior to receiving final orders. When you complete the class after registering online, you will be immediately emailed a certificate of completion. Simply file this certificate with the court in San Luis Obispo at 1035 Palm Street, Rm 385 or at the Paso Robles Branch at 901 Park Street.
Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoption
If you have filed a stepparent or domestic partner adoption request, please fill out the following questionnaire and deliver to Family Court Services.