Family Court Services
George Allen Sr. Courts Building . 600 Commerce Street . Suite 201 . Dallas, Texas 75202
All services provided by Family Court Services (FCS) must be initiated through a court order from the district judge, or their associate judge, and any assessed fees must be paid before service can begin. Only the Family Court Services Order is accepted.
Custody Evaluation (Social Study)
A custody evaluation is an in depth evaluation of the clients in a contested conservatorship case. The process requires multiple interviews with the family members and contacts with community sources to assess the needs of the children and the client's abilities to meet those needs. The custody evaluation averages 4-6 months to complete, depending upon cooperation of the clients or unforeseen circumstances. The custody evaluation will begin with an orientation session that explains the process to the clients. Psychological assessments or drug evaluations may also be recommended.
The fee for a custody evaluation is 2% of net earnings, or as determined by the court.
Updated Custody Evaluation
The court may order a custody evaluation to be updated if a significant amount of time has elapsed between the completion of the custody evaluation and the hearing on the case.
A new court order is required for an update. If more than four months have elapsed since the first custody evaluation was filed with the court, an additional fee is required.
This process involves interviewing the children to help the court obtain an understanding of the child or children's needs, desires and/or opinions about specific issues of the case.
Mediation services may be ordered by the court and are available to clients wishing to make their own decisions concerning the divorce and custody issues. The mediation process will work toward producing a proposal of the ideas mutually agreed upon by the clients. Upon completing that goal, each party will be referred back to their attorney of record for review of the proposal and finalization of an agreed order. Mediation will begin with an orientation session which explains the process for the litigants.
There is no cost for mediation services.
A court may order a custody evaluation and mediation at the same time. The custody evaluation will be conducted and filed with the court; then mediation will be scheduled. The mediation may be conducted prior to the custody evaluation should the court specify
Adoption Evaluation (Study)
An adoption evaluation involves interviews with and the collection of community information about the petitioner(s) and the family unit where the child in question will live.
The fee for an Adoption Evaluation is 2% of net earnings or as determined by the court.
A mandatory and free two-hour workshop is provided to families who are adopting. It is designed to provide information about common issues in adoption and to assist parents with recognizing and resolving those issues.