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:
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.
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
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
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
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