Services Offered by the Office of the Family Court
The Office of the Family Court Commissioner facilitates four types of services.
Parenting After Separation Program
This program was designed by parents and professionals who care about their children. It focuses on the needs of children whose parents are not together. The emphasis is on promoting the child's emotional and physical health as the process of separation evolves. The child's needs will resurface through the child's lifetime framed by the child's developmental stage and environment.
Parents with children in divorce, paternity or separation cases are ordered to participate in these classes. The cost is $50 per person.
The statutory definition of mediation is the dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person, who has no power to impose a decision if all the parties do not agree, helps the parties reach an agreement by focusing on the key issues in the case, exchanging information between the parties and exploring options for settlement. Mediation offers people the option of resolving conflict by finding a solution most suited to their needs without the emotional and financial demands of litigation.
Mediation is required by law in certain circumstances and will generally be ordered when requested by a party. The cost is $125 per person.
View the Introduction to Mediation Video.
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of a child. The Guardian ad litem conducts an investigation and reports back to the Court with a recommendation.
A Guardian ad litem is required to be appointed in certain circumstances and will generally be appointed when requested by a party. The deposit is $350 per person plus $50 per month until the guardian ad litem has been discharged and the final billing his been determined. Guardian ad litem final billing will be submitted at the rate of $85 per hour.
In some cases, if mediation is not successful, the Court may order a custody study. The custody evaluator will generally interview the parents, children and other relevant people. A report will then be generated which will include the evaluator's recommendations relating to custody and placement.
There is a flat fee of $900 and a deposit of $450 per person is required.