Family Court Services

Procedures for Initiating Service from Family Court Services

George Allen Sr. Courts Building . 600 Commerce Street . Suite 201 . Dallas, Texas 75202

Once the Court has determined that services from Family Court Services should be ordered, the Court will assess the appropriate fee utilizing the Order for Payment of Family Court Services Fees or an Associate Judge’s Report, based on 2% of net earnings, or as otherwise determined by the court. Services to clients can be provided only after the payment of all assessed fees, and a completed, signed order has been brought to the Family Court Services office. A custody evaluation can be delayed for weeks or months because one or more parties have not paid the assessed fee or a signed court order has not been delivered to Family Court Services.

Contested Custody Evaluation

1. Complete the Family Court Services Order and deliver the signed order to FCS. Court clerks are not responsible for forwarding the order to FCS. A judge will not sign the order for a study until proof is provided that all assessed fees have been paid. Fees should be paid to the Dallas County Child Support Office on the first floor of the George Allen Sr. Courts Building. Fees for custody evaluations ordered by Juvenile District Courts can be paid in the District Clerk's Office in the Henry Wade Juvenile Center. You will receive a receipt to show to the court that the fees have been paid. When paying be sure to have your cause number and inform the clerk that you are paying the fee for a custody evaluation.

2. When the completed order and fees have been received, the case will be assigned for the next available orientation date. Orientations are Tuesday mornings at 8:00am. Clients will receive a letter informing them of their appointment for orientation and the first interview. A copy of the letter will be sent to the attorney of record. Subsequent interviews will be scheduled between the counselor and the client. If the clients have participated in a custody evaluation within the last two years they do not need to repeat the orientation.

3. Once the custody evaluation is completed, a report will be filed with the court. A copy of the report will be made available to the attorneys of record. The report may be downloaded from the secure section of this web site if arrangements have previously been made for that service with Family Court Services.

Mediation

1. Family Court Services (FCS) provides mediation upon court order, but there is no fee. Attorneys or clients should reserve one of the limited, weekly appointments as soon as possible. If the order is not received prior to the actual mediation session, the case may be bumped by another case in which the signed order has been received.

2. The person scheduling the mediation should first consult with all parties about a mutually acceptable time and they are also responsible for notifying all parties of the time selected. FCS will send a letter of confirmation to all clients and attorneys of record, if complete addresses have been provided and if there is sufficient time before the scheduled date.

3. Orientation begins at 12:00p.m. for all clients who have not attended orientation in the last two years. The mediation session will begin at 1:00 p.m. If attorneys' plan to participate, they need to be present at 1:00 p.m. Clients not scheduled to attend orientation need to arrive for mediation at 12:45 p.m. Mediation may last all afternoon, so plan accordingly. If subsequent sessions are necessary, they will be scheduled directly with the mediator.

Adoptions

1. A completed, signed Family Court Services Order should be delivered to FCS after the assessed fees are paid. Court clerks will not forward the order to FCS. Fees may be paid to the Dallas County Child Support office in the George Allen Sr. Courts building. The District Clerks office in the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice center will receive fees for cases originating in the Juvenile courts. When paying be sure to have your cause number and inform the clerk you are paying the fee for a adoption evaluation.

2. Once the Order, with fees paid, has been received the case will be assigned. The clients will receive a letter informing them of their interview appointment.

3. Upon completion, the adoption evaluation will be filed with the court. A copy of the report will be sent to the petitioner and another will be made available to the attorney of record. Attorneys may download the report from the secure section of this web site if they have previously arranged for that service with FCS.

Child Interviews

1. Only a judge may order interviews with a child. FCS will schedule the appointment in consultation with the court and attorneys or clients. There is no fee for an interview with children.

2. Once the child interview is completed, a report will be sent to the court. The judge may then distribute the report to the attorneys of record.