Some divorces end amicably. That always makes things easier – especially when you have children. But, when mom and dad can’t agree on a parenting plan for their children, the Court typically needs to get involved.

That means both parents meeting for an appointment with Family Court Services.

Even the words “Family Court Services” can intimidate parents who don’t know exactly what’s going on. Many go into their appointment worried they are going to lose their children or their rights. It’s easy to imagine the worst.

That’s why preparing for your appointment and knowing more about what to expect can help.

Working with therapists who have experience with Family Court Services is important, and at the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center, we have worked with them for years.

So, what can you expect from your appointment?

Understand It Is Not Mediation

Some parents think their Family Court Services appointment is a replacement for mediation, or that it’s very similar to mediation.

It may start out with a similar feel. The FCS counselor you work with may start out talking to you and your former partner about any arrangements that you might work out together.

But, if you cannot come to an agreement, they won’t spend a lot of time (like a mediator) trying to get you to meet halfway on things.

Instead, your FCS counselor will turn the meeting into more of an “investigation”. It is the job of the counselor to ask questions and determine what the most child-centered plan for your child(ren) might be.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel as though you’re being interrogated, or even judged for your ideas or parenting style. That can lead to frustration, fear, and fumbling over your answers even if you know that you’re a good parent.

How to Get Through Your Appointment Smoothly

To stay calm and collected throughout your Family Court Service Appointment, prepare yourself as much as possible.

Our preparation process is meant to simulate what an actual appointment will look/sound like. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all FCS appointments are currently done via phone. But you should still know some questions that might be covered.

That’s why we set up a two-hour appointment to prepare you from start to finish. We will go over some questions your counselor will probably ask during your appointment. That will give you a chance to prepare your answers.

We will also work with you on your ideas about a parenting plan. Remember, if you and your former spouse can agree on a plan for your children, the courts will have less involvement.

It’s also important that we talk about any concerns you might have about your co-parent or any concerns they might bring up about you. Doing so will help you know how to respond to the FCS counselor.

You should consider the preparation for your appointment as a role-playing session. This is to make you feel more comfortable with the appointment itself. So, you can keep your thoughts collected and answer questions with confidence.

Working With San Diego Divorce Counseling Center

You don’t have to go into your FCS appointment unprepared. It can be an overwhelming thought for any parent. Let us help you get through it with our years of experience and our direct work with Family Court Services.

If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-harnessing your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at and click the Book Online button, or call us at 619-865-3203, to set up an appointment