Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Changes in Rules of Court for Family Law

Family Care Monitoring Services wants to bring to you the most current information on the services we provide. As of 2013, a new California Rule of Court 5.20 has been prepared. It was amended by Assembly Bill 1674, both of which are included with this email.

Probably, the most significant change that we noted is the language as to how we do our job. Previously the Standard 5.20 made strong suggestions using “should” in the guidelines and now the term is “shall”. We have always considered as to what we do is directed by the California Rules of Court. We have our own rules and guidelines regarding how we run our business, but we take very seriously the changes that have been made.  It is our hope that we continue to provide the continued quality of service that is expected of Supervised Visitation Monitors and of Family Care Monitoring Services.

Monitoring can be a very emotional journey for all clients and most especially the children involved in the conflict of divorce or separation. Our job here at Family Care Monitoring Service, is to make an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience into as pleasant and comfortable experience for as long as the supervised visitation is in place. It is our hope that our visiting parents, your clients will use this experience as a tool to understand and strengthen their parenting skills; to really learn how to relate to their children and how to keep their children out of the middle of their conflict with the other parent.

Supervised Visitation does not favor the affluent or working class. It runs rampant all across the board no matter the ethnicity, the educational status, the mental capacity or even how long they have been a parent.

In the last ten years of my life, as an employee and part of the staff of Family care Monitoring Services, I have crossed the paths with a multitude of parents involved in supervised visitation. It has been my experience that most parents having the requirement of monitoring are angry, confused, unsure, stressed and resentful. Very seldom, will you find an amicable divorce requiring monitoring, (it does happen), we see blame being passed back and forth. Most monitoring is determined in the courtroom. Most times, the monitored parent does not understand why they are being monitored. Although it isn’t our job to tell them why they are being monitored, we will try to help them understand what we do. There are two sides to every story and it is not our job to take sides and support one or the other. It is our job to do what we can to facilitate the visit. 

Setting Boundaries and the good parent:
What do children really want or even need? In my experience as a prior Professional Nanny and a Professional Monitor and a Mother, I believe that all children need love, structure and discipline, rules and boundaries, all in a healthy balanced doses. It is my experience that Children who are allowed to ‘Rule the Nest’ crave the need for structure and guidelines! Most of all Children need security, stability and most of all LOVE! When a child is stuck in the middle of an ugly custody dispute, a parent can’t always be the friend. They need to be the parent. Sometimes that involves saying ‘NO’. It involves being an adult and encouraging a relationship with the other parent. It involves being supportive and listening to your children. Not putting your thoughts in their heads. Don’t let your children be damaged by your own anger and feelings. Not to say that your feelings aren’t important, but your children don’t need the stress of dealing with your problems as well. You as the parent must have your own boundaries with your children as well.

Suggestions for visitations:
Parents who come to the visits usually want to or need to bring food/snacks for their children. We encourage all parents to bring healthy nutritious food and not junk food. Additionally, it is very helpful if the custodial parent might advise the non-custodial parent of any food allergies that the children might have. Food can be an argumentative subject with parents, who may not be amicable. This helps to stop friction in between visits.

Parents should plan activities in advance with off-site visitations lasting more than a couple of hours. Have a main plan and perhaps a couple of contingency plans in case of inclement weather or the child not feeling well. If the child is old enough to participate in the planning, do something that is age appropriate for the child. We know that visitations in themselves are high ticket items, so if your child wants to go shopping, you need to set guidelines in advance or find some other activity to do with the child. A parent can find a lot of free and interesting activities to do with their child on the internet.

On-site visitation is a little more difficult to plan activities. If your children are school aged, help them with their homework, or show them you support the activities they are involved in. Listen to your children. It matters

We hope you find this information useful and that you might pass it on to your clients. We look forward to working with you on your next case. If you need additional information, we have access to many resources on different subjects ranging from: Domestic Violence, Sexual abuse and child abduction, grief, etc.

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