Child custody in California can stretch emotions, cause vitriol among family members and result in hurting those who should be the focus: the children. There can be a chasm between what the parents want, what is possible and what's in the best interests of the child. A child custody dispute can lead to a significant amount of damage for everyone involved. That's why the state has put measures into place for parties to try and resolve their differences through family dispute resolution.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a program in which parents are trained, assisted, consulted with and supported by the Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC). The idea is to assist families who are embroiled in a child custody dispute. They evaluate, mediate and give tools to help parties come to an agreement as to where the child will live and how the circumstances will be handled, if possible. With this program, family court will have mediators and various professionals help those who need it. It has been expanded to include custody disputes and visitation problems, as well as other issues that arise, such as guardianships.
The FDR Unit will assist court staff in consulting, supporting and visiting the locations in which the dispute is taking place. It will try to find effective methods to resolve disputes. Policies can be suggested, developed and implemented. A movement to legislate improvements to family legal issues can be broached. Alterations to rules and forms regarding child custody will be proposed. When it comes to custody, evaluations can be made through this program. A full custody evaluation will look at the welfare, health, safety and best interests of the child. Partial custody evaluation will do the same and consider limitations to the agreements. Either court staff or private professionals will conduct the evaluations. Certain criteria will be in place for those who are deemed suitable to make the evaluations.
A child custody dispute can be a difficult issue to overcome. Most parents have the best interests of the children in mind, but there are times that a split between the parents can lead to a blurring of the lines and anger will come to the forefront resulting in battles that need not be fought. The children and their welfare are the most important things and to avoid unnecessary battles, it's key to have help from a legal professional experienced in child custody in the state.
Source: California Courts - The Judicial Branch of California, "Family Dispute Resolution," accessed March 10, 2015