The Family Relations Department provides services to litigating parties in order to help resolve issues of conflict during the pre and post-decree stage of the litigation at the Judges'/Magistrates' discretion. The department provides family investigations, parenting time facilitations, home study investigations, and home studies at the request of out-of-the-area courts or agencies. Upon request of attorneys or parties, a list of outside guardians ad litem, psychologists, and mediators will be provided. Some of the department's mediators work in unison with Magistrates to co-facilitate mediation.
Summarized below is information regarding the services provided by the Family Relations Department to divorcing parties in the process of a divorce and parties already divorced who have a motion before the court.
This service is provided upon a referral from both judges and/or magistrates. An extensive assessment is conducted on all of the family members regarding custody and/or parenting time issues. The parents are interviewed individually, a family session is held with both mother, father, and the children. Significant others in the household may also be included. The children are also interviewed individually at the time of the family sessions. A home study is conducted on both homes if it is deemed necessary and appropriate, and the children may be re-interviewed at this time as well. Written and/or telephone contact is made with other agencies involved with the family, such as schools, doctors, counselors, police agencies, and references. A report with recommendations in regard to custody and/or parenting time is mailed to the attorneys of record seven to ten days prior to the hearing date. If the attorneys have the expectation that they will need the Family Relations Investigator to testify at the hearing,the Family Relations Investigator must be subpoenaed.
HOME STUDY INVESTIGATIONS:
This service is provided on a referral from the judges and magistrates requesting a home visit on the parties' home. The home study assesses the home for visitation and/or custody purposes. The home should meet community standards for cleanliness and floor space. The home visit is normally scheduled with the parties in advance.
PARENTING TIME FACILITATION:
This service is provided on a referral from the judges or magistrates in order to facilitate and implement the court-ordered parenting time schedule. All parties needed to implement the parenting time schedule will be interviewed. Many different methods are used by the Family Relations Department to assist the parties in working out viable parenting time schedules.
If you would like additional information, contact the department at (937) 225-4191.