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The Office of Family Court Services is located at the Spinetta Family Law Center at 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Tel: (925) 608-2065. Customer Service Hours are from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm.

Family Court Services provides Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC), formerly known as “Mediation”, free of charge to the parties in all pending Contra Costa cases. Parties may request an appointment when either party files for a court hearing on custody/visitation or when a CCRC appointment is ordered by a judge.

If a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is in place, or if a party declares under penalty of perjury that there is a history of domestic violence by the other party, that party is entitled to a separate CCRC sessions. Parties must inform the Family Court Services staff of the restraining orders or domestic violence when making CCRC appointments in order to get a separate appointment.

When does Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC) occur?

Whenever possible, CCRC appointments are scheduled at least two weeks before the scheduled court hearing on disputed custody and visitation issues. If staffing shortages result in an appointment being scheduled after a court hearing date, parties can consult their attorney(s) about postponing or “continuing” the hearing until two to three weeks after the CCRC appointment. Self-represented litigants with no domestic violence order are eligible to use a Stipulation and Order Re: Continuance of Court Hearing to a Date After the CCRC Appointment (FamLaw-230) form at no charge to request a continuance.

Who conducts the CCRC?

The court employs experienced CCRC’s (formerly known as “Mediators”) who have specialized training in areas pertaining to children and families. These areas include, but are not limited to, effective co-parenting, conflict resolution, parenting techniques, children's developmental stages, domestic violence, substance abuse, and child abuse and neglect.

Setting appointments

Parties can contact Family Court Services by phone at (925) 608-2065 or by coming into the office Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 3:00pm. Family Court Services will schedule an appointment after hearing from both parents and then send the parents written notification of the appointment day and time.

Parent Orientation

Parents who cannot agree on child custody or visitation issues must go to a CCRC appointment (formerly known as “mediation”) before the judge can hear that part of their case. Before you can go to CCRC, however, all parents must participate in an online orientation session.

Start Online Orientation

Even if parents have completed the online Orientation, both parents must call Family Court Services at (925) 608-2065 between 8:00am and 3:00pm Monday through Friday to schedule their CCRC appointment.

Parents must complete the online orientation program along with the intake form at the end of the orientation program at least five days prior to their appointment.

During their CCRC appointment, parents get help planning for their children’s care. This includes talking about ways their children can have contact with each parent. If the parents cannot agree on these issues through the CCRC appointment, the counselor may make a recommendation to the judge about what arrangements he or she believes are in the best interests of the child or children. If there are domestic violence issues, the party alleging domestic violence may ask to schedule the child custody recommending counseling session at separate times.

CCRC is for parents only. Children or other parties (such as attorneys, relatives, new spouses) do not participate in CCRC appointments. Parents protected by a current restraining order or criminal protective order have the right to have a support person attend any CCRC appointment, including separate CCRC sessions. Parents need to tell Family Court Services staff when making appointments that they plan to bring a Support Person. There are currently no childcare facilities at the courthouse. Parents must make arrangements for someone else to care for their children while they attend CCRC appointments and court hearings.