Family Court Services

Available 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.

Social Study
A social study 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 social study averages 90 days to complete, depending upon cooperation of the clients or unforeseen circumstances. The social study 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 social study is determined by the court.

Updated Social Study
A court may order a social study to be updated if a significant amount of time has elapsed between the completion of the social study and the hearing on the case.

If more than four months have elapsed since the first social study report was filed with the court, a new court order and an additional fee is required.

Emergency Assessments
FCS provides three types of brief, specifically focused emergency assessments to assist the courts in making temporary orders.

1. Interviews of a child: 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.

2. Interviews of a child with a full social study to follow: This process is the same as the interview above, but the case will proceed on to a full study after the emergency interviews are completed.

The fee must be paid and a signed court order for a social study must be received before the study is assigned.

3. Emergency assessment: This is a narrowly focused assessment involving interviews with the children, adult clients and some community sources. It is limited to approximately four hours and is not intended to cover the scope of a full social study.

The fee for an emergency evaluation is determined by the court and must be paid before the report will be released to the court.

Mediation
Mediation services 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. The 302nd, 303rd, and 254th Family District Courts require attorneys of record to participate in mediation. Attorneys on cases from the other Family District Courts may also participate in mediation, but it is not required. Mediation will begin with an orientation session which explains the process for the litigants.

There is no cost for mediation services.

Dual Order
A court may order mediation and a social study at the same time. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will proceed to a social study. If mediation is successful, the social study is no longer needed and the case will be closed.

There is no fee for the mediation. The assessed fee must be paid before the case can be reassigned as a social study.

Counseling
Some limited counseling services can be provided to the clients in a case upon receipt of a court order. This will be no more than four, one-hour sessions to focus on issues specifically determined between the judge and Family Court Services.

The fee for Counseling Services is determined by the court.

Adoption Study
A social study for an uncontested adoption involves interviews with and the collection of community information about the petitioner(s) and the family unit where the child in question will live. Home visits are not customarily made for stepparent adoptions.

The fee for an Adoption Social Study is determined by the court.

Adoption Workshop
A 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.