Beginning January 1, 2019, the San Bernardino Superior Court will implement a new procedure for processing custody and visitation agreements made during child custody “recommending” counseling appointments.
Under the new process, a court appearance will not be required under certain conditions. For example, in cases where those involved reach a complete custody and visitation agreement, the child custody counselor responsible for the final recommendation will prepare the agreement while both parties are present and provide a copy to them to review and sign.
Child custody counseling is a form of negotiation between parties with the help of a mental health professional counselor who help them reach an agreement regarding custody and parenting issues. The goal is to help parents through compromise, develop a parenting plan that reflects the needs of their children in ways that will enhance the quality of their lives.
If parties do not reach an agreement, the child custody counselor will make recommendations to the Court. This service is provided free of charge and generally occurs before the first court appearance.
Subsequently, although the custody matter will remain on the court calendar, the parties involved will not be required to appear if the only issue before the court is custody and visitation.
Officials believe this revised process will improve efficiency by reducing or eliminating unneeded court hearings. It is also expected to save time and resources for litigants while still ensuring the parties have an opportunity to object to the settlement.
For more information about the new process for child custody and visitation agreements, including services provided, visit http://www.sb-court.org/Divisions/FamilyCourtServices.aspx. For additional questions, please contact Family Court Services at (909) 5213180.