In California, parents who disagree about how to resolve their child custody and visitation issues are required to participate in a process called Child Custody Recommending Counseling before having their cases settled by a judge. However, many parents are unfamiliar with what Child Custody Recommending Counseling is and how they can benefit from it during divorce.
What is Child Custody Recommending Counseling?
California law requires Child Custody Recommending Counseling to take place any time there is a dispute over matters of child custody or visitation. Child Custody Recommending Counseling is a dispute resolution process in which the participants (typically a child’s parents) negotiate their disagreements with the help of a specially-trained professional counselor.
Unlike a judge, a Child Custody Recommending Counselor does not have final decision-making power; instead, the counselor facilitates the negotiation process between the parents and helps them work out a child custody plan on their own terms. The goal of the process is to reach an outcome that is satisfactory to everyone involved. However, if the participants are not able to reach an agreement, they can still take their case to family court and have it resolved by a judge. When this occurs, the counselor will provide the judge with a written report of any issues that remain unresolved, as well as his or her recommendations for resolving those issues.
California parents who resolve their disputes through the Child Custody Recommending Counseling process are often happier with how their conflicts are resolved than those who use the traditional court system. This is because the negotiation process gives parents a larger degree of control over their own outcomes and helps them avoid undesirable resolutions. In some cases, it also allows parties to come up with more creative solutions than are typically available in a courtroom setting.
Counseling helps parents resolve disputes amicably
Another benefit of Child Custody Recommending Counseling is it often helps reduce animosity between the participants. Unlike the traditional litigation process, which often winds up pitting one parent against the other, Child Custody Recommending Counseling is an inherently cooperative process. By working together toward a mutually agreeable outcome, the counseling process helps do away with the idea that there is a “winner” and a “loser” in the case.
Because the process is more collaborative than adversarial, and because parents are less likely to feel that they have been treated unfairly, Child Custody Recommending Counseling often helps dispel negative emotions and promotes a functional relationship between the parties. This can be especially beneficial to parents, who usually must continue to be in contact with one another after the divorce in order to care for their children.
To learn more about Child Custody Recommending Counseling, as well as other alternatives for resolving child custody disputes in California, contact a knowledgeable family law attorney with experience handling divorce and child custody matters.