What happens during a Family Court Services (FCS) mediation?

Vanessa Valenzuela-September 24, 2019

In Sacramento County, and in many other counties in California, a Family Court Services (FCS) mediation is required when disputes regarding the issues of child custody or visitation arise in a family matter. An FCS mediation is required whether a party is requesting that a court make child custody or visitation orders for the first time or whether a party is requesting that a court make a modification to the existing orders.

On the day of the FCS mediation appointment, a Child Custody Recommending Counselor (or Mediator) will interview the parties with the goal of helping them reach an agreement on the issues of child custody or visitation. In many counties, such as Sacramento County, the Mediator also has the authority to interview the children involved in the family matter; third-party organizations, such as Child Protective Services (CPS); and other individuals that may have pertinent information about the children or parties.

If the parties reach a full or partial agreement during mediation, the Mediator will prepare a report with the agreement outlined for the parties and the court. If the parties do not reach an agreement, it is the Mediator’s responsibility to prepare a report that provides the Mediator’s “recommendation” as to the child custody or visitation orders that the Mediator believes are “in the best interest” of the children. Although an FCS Mediator provides the court with a report, only a family court judge has the authority to make child custody or visitation orders in a family matter.

It is important that you prepare for your FCS mediation appointment. The facts or information you need to provide during your mediation appointment will depend on your specific family matter. At the Law Office of Cameron M. Fernandez, our attorneys prepare each client for their FCS mediation appointment by providing them with advice and tips relevant to their specific matter. Please contact our office if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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