1. What can I expect at my first Court custody and visitation hearing?
A video is shown in Department 14 at 8:30 AM. When you come to court you will have a chance to view the video. If you need assistance with a parenting plan you will meet with a child custody recommending counselor after you view the video. The counselor will discuss various parenting plan options that are in the best interest of your child with the goal of finding a mutual agreed upon plan. You will have one court paid session on the day of your court hearing.
2. Is what I say in child custody recommending counseling confidential?
If you are participating in in-court child custody recommending counseling or court-ordered long term counseling, what you communicate in counseling is not confidential. All child custody recommending counselors have the ability to discuss anything communicated to them with the judge in open court and to make a recommendation to the judge.
3. Do child custody recommending counselors make "recommendations" to the judge if we don't agree on everything?
In-court child custody recommending counselors or court-ordered long term child custody recommending counselors do make recommendations to the judge on issues where the parties have not come to an agreement. The recommendation may be for a temporary arrangement or one that is more long term. The judge will review the recommendation and may or may not follow it.
4. What happens if I have a restraining order because of domestic violence, or there is a history of domestic violence? Do I have to be in the same room with this other person?
No. You have a right to meet separately from the other person.
5. If I have a restraining order, or there is a history of domestic violence, do I have the right to have a support person with me when I meet with the child custody recommending counselor?
Yes, you do. A support person may accompany the person protected by the order during the counseling session. It is the function of the support person to provide moral and emotional support. You may select any individual to act as a support person.