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FCS Parent Orientation & Mediation

The law says parents who cannot agree about custody and visitation must go to mediation.

In Santa Clara County, parents take an online Family Court Orientation Class first to learn about what will happen in mediation.

You will get a handbook that will help you get ready for your mediation. The handbook gives you information on:

  • child custody and visitation
  • child development
  • co-parenting & parallel parenting arrangements
  • tips on how to avoid arguments what happens if the parents can’t come to an agreement during mediation

Click to download the FCS parent handbook in English or Spanish .

Our Parent Orientation and Mediation teaches parents how to:

  • Understand the needs and feelings of their children after separation.
  • Handle their own feelings in the best way possible for their children.
  • Spot warning signs in their children.
  • Separate themselves emotionally from the other parent.
  • Reduce conflict with the other parent.
  • Develop new skills for getting along with the other parent.
  • Communicate appropriately with each other after separation.
  • Maintain safety in domestic violence situations.

You will get information and help to create a parenting plan that works for your family. We will tell you about different types of parenting plans. You will learn how mediation helps you and the other parent to agree on a parenting plan and resolve your custody disputes. And you will get a chance to ask questions about your situation.

The classes are free. You can take the class online in English or Spanish.

If you have attended Orientation any time after July 2001, you do not need to attend again.

What happens if you don't go?

The law says parents who cannot agree on custody and visitation MUST go to mediation. The court may fine you if you do not go, or if you cancel your appointment late. (See the Family Court Services fee for "No Show/Late Cancellation fee" on the local fee schedule .)

How to Complete the Orientation to Mediation Course

The court requires every person involved in a case about child custody and visitation to attend an Orientation class before mediation. This is so that you have some basic information on how Child Custody Mediation works. You will have many of your questions answered during this class. The class is offered online and is free.

To take the class online, click here for the Online Mediation Orientation class in English or Spanish.