What is a Parenting Plan Assessment?
A Parenting Plan Assessment (PPA) is a custody evaluation used by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The former name was “Solutions Focused Evaluation”.
From the former Family Law Supervising Judge, Scott M. Gordon (Source: Family Law E-News: Judicial Message, Family Law Supervising Judge, Scott M. Gordon, Articles, Announcements, Pending Legislation, Cases, Volume 4, Number 3, July 2013)
This article will be a little different than the past few offerings. Unfortunately, much of what there has been to talk about has dealt with the negative effects of the budget crisis. Those pressures and challenges still exist and are very real. However, there are several things that have occurred that will provide enhanced service to you and our litigants. These new programs are also show the incredible resiliency and dedication of the Family Law Division Staff and the staff of Family Court Services led by Susan Thrall.
As you know, the reduction of staff that we have experienced over the past several years has forced the termination of Full Child Custody Evaluations by Family Court Services. This has placed much greater pressure on the Solution Focused Evaluation (SFE) process (formerly known as “Fast Track” evaluations). It has also funneled cases into the SFE process that present issues too complex for the traditional SFE process.
In an effort to provide greater service, Family Court Services (FCS) is offering enhanced evaluation services in the form of Parenting Plan Assessments (PPA). FCS now performs two types of assessments, the PPA I and PPA II.
The PPA I
The Parenting Plan Assessment I is very similar to the former Solution Focused Evaluations (was also known as a “Fast Track Evaluation”). The intent is to get the PPA I done in 1 day, and should not be conducted at the time of or during trial.
The PPA II
The PPA II is a 2-day process used for cases with “compelling” issues. The 2-day process gives the parties an additional opportunity to present information and allows the evaluator a greater opportunity to determine the issues and work with the parties. Recommendations will be given and the process completed on 2nd day of assessment at 1:30 p.m., which is when the evaluator testifies in court.
The PPA II should not be confused with a full child custody evaluation, and is only used in cases involving more than 2 of the following issues:
History of serious mental illness
Child or parent with physical/ developmental disability
High conflict cases
Three or more children over the age of 5
History of child abduction
Sexual molestation (Consider a FC §3118 evaluation)
Repeated allegations of child abuse
Chronic substance abuse
The PPA II Process:
Review Legal File
Interview Parent 1
Interview Parent 2
Observe/ Interview Parent 1 and children
Observe/ Interview Parent 2 and children
Make collateral calls
Consult with necessary professionals
Make additional collateral calls
Type recommendations for distribution
11:00 a.m. Conference with attorneys and/or parents
1:30 p.m. Testify.
How Much Do PPA’s Cost?
PPA 1: $975
PPA 2: $1,950
The fee for the PPA must be paid directly to the Family Court Services Office located at 111 N. Hill Street, Room 241, Los Angeles, California 90012. The payment for the PPA must be made within 21 calendar days after the order is entered or by the date of the assessment, whichever occurs first. A failure to pay the fee could result in the cancellation of an assessment. If the case settles after you pay the fee, you have to notify Family Court Services as soon as possible before the date of the assessment to receive a refund. Otherwise, Family Court Services will charge a $50.00 administrative fee.
For more information, please visit the Los Angeles County Court website.