​​​​​​Hyden Zakheim, LLP​

Attorneys at Law

(925) 831-0636

Providing effective representation locally, since 1991.

Family Court Service Mediation

Most California family courts offer Family Court Service (“FCS”) mediation. FCS mediators provide child custody and visitation recommendations and counseling in family law cases where the separating or divorcing parents cannot agree on a child custody and visitation plan.

FCS mediation, or recommending counseling, is provided in private counseling offices with a court counselor. The court counselors are trained in such matters and often have a background as family therapists. The main goal of the FCS mediation session is to convince the parents to work toward a mutually acceptable agreement which is in the best interest of the children. In the event an agreement is not reached, the counselor will provide recommendations to the court on parenting plans.

The recommending counselors are not legal professionals. They work for the court system in a counseling and therapeutic capacity. While they may make recommendations to the judge about your case, the judge is the final decision maker in your action - not the counselor. In addition, the rules of evidence and procedure are not applicable when you meet the counselor. The only requirement is that any documents you provide to the counselor will need to be provided to the other parent or party as well. Thus, in preparing for your FCS mediation appointment, gather all information, documents and phone numbers of witnesses that may be relevant to determining the best custody and visitation plan for your children.

Most courts require two things prior to setting a mediation appointment with FCS: an order signed by a judge requiring FCS to arrange a mediation appointment and completion of an orientation appointment with FCS. If you already have the order from a judge and need to set up your appointment, you can do so by calling the appropriate FCS office. (A local list of phone numbers is provided below.)


County and direct link                                        

Phone Number                  

Alameda County Family Court Services 

(510) 690-2500

Contra Costa Family Court Services

(925) 608-2065

Napa County Family Court Services

(707) 299-1240 

Sacramento County Family Court Services

(916) 875 3400

San Francisco County Family Court Services 

(415) 551-5910

San Joaquin County Family Court Services

(209) 992-5690

San Mateo County Family Court Services

(650) 261-5080

Santa Clara County Family Court Services

(408) 534-5600

Solano County Family Court Services

(707) 207-7340 Fairfield

(707) 561-7840 Valejo  

Sonoma County Family Court Services

(707) 521-6800