Family Code Section 3170 requires mediation, or Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) services, in Family Law cases when separating or divorcing parents cannot agree on custody and visitation arrangements for their child. The parenting plan addresses such topics as legal custody, physical custody, timeshare or visitation schedules, telephone contact, transportation and any other special needs or issues pertaining to child custody and visitation. Other topics that may be discussed include domestic violence and substance abuse issues.
However, if the parents cannot agree on the issues and are unable to develop a parenting plan together, the Child Custody Recommending Counselor will prepare a recommendation regarding custody and visitation issues for the Judicial Officer’s consideration. The Judicial Officer will then make orders regarding the custody and visitation issues in the case.
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- Prior to attending the CCRC appointment, each parent is required to complete an online course designed to help you develop a parenting plan that truly reflects your child’s or children’s best interests. These online courses can be accessed at www.uptoparents.org (for parents who were married) and www.proudtoparent.org (for parents who were not married). Once you have completed the online course, please print the certificate of completion and bring it to your CCRC appointment.
- Prior to attending the CCRC appointment, parents are also encouraged to view the Riverside Parent Orientation Program video for information on the CCRC process in Riverside County.
- Prior to attending the CCRC appointment, each parent is required to complete a Child Custody Recommending Counseling Questionnaire. Once you have completed the online questionnaire, please print a copy and bring it to your CCRC appointment.
- Please arrive at least 30 minutes early for your CCRC appointment to allow for parking, check-in and the completion of initial paperwork including a CCRC Questionnaire. Both parents must attend the CCRC appointment in order for CCRC services to occur.
- Be prepared to spend one to two hours meeting with the Child Custody Recommending Counselor.
- Do not bring children to the CCRC appointment. If the court wishes to speak to your child or children, a separate children’s interview will be scheduled with the Child Custody Recommending Counselor.
- Once both parents have been excused from the CCRC appointment, neither parent can have further communication with the Child Custody Recommending Counselor.
- After the CCRC appointment, the Child Custody Recommending Counselor will prepare the parenting plan you agreed to (stipulated agreement), or prepare a recommendation for the Judicial Officer’s consideration.
- The Child Custody Recommending Counselor will submit the proposed agreement or recommendation to the court prior to the hearing and each parent, or your attorney, can pick up a copy of the documents from the CCRC services clerk.
- If you are not satisfied with the services you received from the Child Custody Recommending Counselor, you can file a complaint and request a new Child Custody Recommending Counselor. The Assistant Deputy Executive Officer of Mediation Services will review all complaints, speak to appropriate staff as necessary, and provide a written response within 30 days in accordance with the Riverside Superior Court’s Local Rule 5155 (J).
Please note that filing a complaint will NOT preclude the Child Custody Recommending Counselor from submitting a recommendation. Additionally, filing a complaint will not automatically result in you being returned to Family Court Services for another CCRC appointment with a new Child Custody Recommending Counselor.
In any contested proceeding involving child custody or visitation, the court may order the parents to undergo an evaluation, pursuant to Family Code Sections 3110-3118 and/or Evidence Code Section 730. The purpose of the evaluation is to gather additional information about the family and the child’s relationships with family members in order to develop a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child.