For those who have custody cases in Placer County Family Court:
Effective July 1, 2022, Placer County is eliminating its Family Court Services connected Tier III Partial (limited assessment) Child Custody Evaluation Service.
Placer County will only offer Tier I (confidential, non-recommending mediation) and Tier II (non-confidential fact gathering without recommendations).
If Tier I and Tier II do not resolve the issues, the parties may go to private CCRC (or a child custody evaluation) or set the matter for trial.
Note: most Placer County trials are being set eight months to fourteen months out from the Trial Assignment Conference; and this lead time will likely increase with more custody trials that may be the inevitable byproduct of the change in services.
Custody Evaluations are conducted by private mental health professionals under contract with the Placer Superior Court as court-connected Child Custody Recommending Counselors and Evaluators. Family Court Services coordinates the assignments and referrals to the contracted court professionals.
TIERED MEDIATION MODEL
Placer Superior Court uses a two-tiered mediation model. Mediation is required, per Family Code Section 3170, whenever issues of child custody and visitation are in dispute. The goal of mediation is to help parties develop an agreement on a parenting plan in their children’s best interest.
A judge may order parents to either tier of mediation or to repeat a given tier.
Tier 1: Confidential Mediation
All parties are required to attempt mediation and may do so prior to seeing a judge. Tier 1 Mediation is confidential to the parties. Full or partial agreements are helpful in a quicker resolution of your case.
Tier 2: Mediation with Information Gathering
A Judge may order a Tier 2 Mediation with Information Gathering after Tier 1 Mediation, or at any other point in the court case. The information gathering will focus on areas of concern for the Judge and may include interviews with children. Tier 2 will result in a report being provided to the judge to inform court decisions in the best interest of the children.