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What Is a Parenting Plan Assessment in Los Angeles?

Posted By Edwin Castellanos || 27-Jun-2013

If you are involved in a child custody dispute at the Los Angeles Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles, then you will want to discuss with your divorce lawyer exactly what is a child custody parenting plan assessment in Los Angeles County during the divorce process or if your family law case involves a child custody issue. Parenting Plan Assessments in Los Angeles (also called “PPA’s”) were formerly called Solution Focused Evaluations. PPA’s occur when the Family Law Court appoints a Family Court Services (“FCS”) Specialist to conduct an assessment of you, the other parent and your child. After conducting these interviews, the FCS reports back to Family Court in reference to any child custody and child visitation issues.

There are two types of Parenting Plan Assessments conducted by an FCS Specialist:

  1. One-Day, Parenting Plan Assessments (PPA): These are ordered when the Court determines there are one or two issue that the court needs to obtain additional information before making a judicial determination. In a One-Day PPA, interviews and testimony will occur on the same day.
  2. Two-Day, Parenting Plan Assessments (PPA): Ordered when the Court has more than two narrowly defined issues and the Court needs additional information before making a judicial determination. This type of PPA occurs on two consecutive days, with interviews of family on the first day and testimony on the following day.

The Cost of the Parenting Plan Assessment in Los Angeles County

Unless the Family Court orders a waiver or deferment, the fee for a One-Day Parenting Plan Assessment is $975.00 and the cost for the Two-Day Parenting Plan Assessment is $1950.00. The fee for the PPA must be paid directly to the Family Court Services Office located at 111 N. Hill Street, Room 241, Los Angeles, California 90012. The payment for the PPA must be made within 21 calendar days after the order is entered or by the date of the assessment, whichever occurs first. A failure to pay the fee could result in the cancellation of an assessment. If the case settles after you pay the fee, you have to notify Family Court Services as soon as possible before the date of the assessment to receive a refund. Otherwise, Family Court Services will charge a $50.00 administrative fee.

Preparing for Your Parenting Plan Assessment in Los Angeles County

  • Check-In Time: 8:00 A.M. Both parents are required to check in at 8:00 A.M. at the Family Court Services Office, Central District, located at 111 N. Hill Street, Room 241 (2nd Floor), Los Angeles, California 90012. Interviews are conducted in the morning. Thus, children are not required to be present in the afternoon. However, both parents must appear at 1:30 P.M. for the Court hearing.
  • Parents may be interviewed individually and/or together. If there is an issue of domestic violence between parents, you must notify Family Court Services at check-in time so they can arrange for separate interviews to take place.
  • Children are interviewed individually and together with each parent. Time permitting, other relatives/friends may be interviewed.
  • It’s important to remember the FCS needs time to talk with you without the children. Therefore, if you have young children it is a good idea to bring someone with you who can care for them while you are speaking to the Specialist. There is a Children’s Waiting Room located at Room 200, second floor, which can provide childcare for children ages infant to age 13. Their hours are from 8:00 AM to Noon and 1:15 until 4:30 PM. You can use the service after you complete your check-in at the FCS office, Room 241.

What you Need to Bring to the Child Custody Parenting Plan Assessment in Los Angeles

You are permitted to bring written documents to the PPA. However, you/your divorce lawyer are required to provide the other parent or his/her divorce lawyer with a copy of any materials you provide to the FCS for review. Some of the written documents you can bring with you for review by the FCS may include the following:

  • Law enforcement or school attendance records/report cards;
  • Letters or reports from physician;
  • Letters or reports from therapist;
  • Previous assessments or medical reports;
  • You must also provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any persons who have relevant information about custody and who you would like the FCS to contact on your behalf. Because a PPA is limited, the FCS may not have an opportunity to interview all of the persons suggested by you.

The PPA Interview Process

  • Preparation: Make sure you bring any written materials you need for the FCS to your PPA and get a copy to the other parent and his/her lawyer. If you have any concerns of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, if there are concerns related to alcohol or substance abuse or criminal behavior, etc…, please notify FCS at the time you check-in.
  • Knowledge: Be Aware Of Your FCS’s Background: You can ask the FCS if they are specially trained or qualified to address any of the above special issues. This would also include any special concerns about developmental issues impacting your child.
  • Truthful: Be Honest, Cooperate And Have A Positive Attitude. Parents are always advised to be honest and open during the assessment process.

Cite: Parenting Plan Assessment Information Sheet, April 2013, Los Angeles Superior Court, Family Court Services.

If you need help with Child Custody, Divorce or Family Law in Los Angeles County, please contact a Los Angeles Child Custody Attorney at the Divorce & Family Law Firm of Castellanos & Associates, APLC at (323) 655-2105. We invite you to learn more online about Child Custody Mediation and Parenting Plan Assessments in Los Angeles, Child Custody Mediation, or for additional information on the Parenting Plan Assessment in Los Angeles County and other Family Law news and updates be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.