July 20, 2018

The Role of Family Services

Our Role in Family Civil Court

The role of Family Services is to assist the Court and clients in the timely and fair resolution of family and interpersonal conflicts through a comprehensive program of alternative dispute resolution services, case management, evaluation and education. With this purpose in mind the Family Relations Counselors will utilize the Family Civil Intake Screen to identify the appropriate service to assist your family.

Alternative Dispute Resolutions Services:

  • Pre-trial Settlement Negotiations – In all Judicial Districts, Family Relations Counselors conduct pre-trial and final judgment settlement conferences with attorneys and litigants in conjunction with their attendance at Family Short Calendar and other Family Civil Court dockets.
  • Mediation – Family Relations Counselors mediate custody and access disputes for up to three 2-hour sessions. These efforts are geared toward assisting parents in resolving differences in a self-determining, non-coercive, and confidential manner.
  • Conflict Resolution Conference – This is a confidential, directive process utilizing negotiation and mediation techniques to resolve the primary issues of custody and access. Parents and attorneys participate in the conferences and information from professional sources may be included. The Family Relations Counselor may offer recommendations to the parents at the conclusion of the process if the parties are unable to resolve their dispute. These recommendations are not provided to the Court.

Case Management Services:

  • General Case Management – A Family Relations Counselor will be assigned distinct responsibilities to assist parties in resolving their parenting issues with a report back to the Court. Some components include gathering specific information regarding the family, monitoring compliance with court orders, facilitating settlement conferences to develop parenting plans, conducting home visits, or completing other court-ordered tasks.
  • Intensive Case Management – This service offers litigants in the early stages of post judgement court involvement the opportunity to enhance collaboration between the parents and formulate mutual decisions regarding the well-being/care of their children. The role of the Family Relations Counselor is to work with the parents as needed to reduce conflict, offer skills for enhanced communication, reinforce positive parenting, and report progress to the Court.

Evaluative Services:

  • Issue-Focused Evaluation – This is a non-confidential process of assessing a limited issue impacting a family and/or parenting plan. The goal of an Issue-Focused Evaluation is to explore the defined parenting dispute, gather information regarding only this issue and provide a recommendation to the parents and the Court. This evaluation format is limited in scope, involvement, and duration.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation – This is an in-depth, non-confidential assessment of the family system by the Family Relations Counselor. The information gathered by the counselor, the assessment of the family, and the resulting recommended parenting plan is shared with the parents and attorneys. This recommendation may be used to form the basis of an agreement. At the conclusion of the process, a report with recommendations is filed with the Court.

Education:

  • Parent Education Program (PEP) – Family Services contracts with community and private agencies throughout the state to provide this program. The PEP is a six-hour statutorily-mandated, psycho-educational course for separating and divorcing parents that provides information about the impact of family re-structuring on children.

Our Role In Criminal Court

The role of Family Services is to assist the Court and clients in the timely and fair disposition of family violence criminal cases through a comprehensive assessment and intervention plan to prevent, reduce, and stop the frequency and severity of violence against victim/complainants.

  • Family Violence Arraignment Proceedings – Family Relations Counselors conduct pre-arraignment family violence intake assessments and screen all family violence arraignment cases. This process includes:
  • Collecting demographic information
  • Reviewing criminal histories
  • Reviewing the Protective Order Registry
  • Screening for handguns and firearms
  • Screening for risk of continued violence
  • Interviewing the defendant and victim
  • Coordinating with Family Violence Victim Advocates
  • Recommending the level of Protective Orders
  • Recommending treatment/services
  • Family Violence Case Assessments – Family Relations Counselors assess all cases that are referred to Family Services subsequent to the arraignment process. Assessments include:

– In-depth victim interview

– In-depth defendant interview

– Coordination with the Family Violence Victim Advocate

– Preparation of detailed case assessment and recommendations for the Court

  • Pre-trial Case Management Services – Family Relations Counselors oversee diversionary programs for cases referred to Family Services and perform the following functions:

– Administrative monitoring/supervision

  • Monthly contact with the defendant
  • Coordination of the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP) and other court-ordered contracted and non-contracted services
  • Coordination with the Family Violence Victim Advocates

Family Services Administration and Staffing

Central Office Administrative Staff: An Executive Director oversees all aspects of the Court Support Services Division (CSSD). The Family Services Unit of CSSD is centrally administered to support field function/operations, coordinate initiatives, and oversee intervention/sanction programs, as well as contracted services providers. Family Services court-based staff includes Family Services Supervisors, Family Relations Counselors, and Family Intake Assistants/Clerical Support.

SOURCE: Connecticut Judicial Branch

Medicare Program – General Information

Medicare is a health insurance program for:

  • people age 65 or older,
  • people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
  • people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Medicare has:

Part A Hospital Insurance – Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.

Part B Medical Insurance
– Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Prescription Drug Coverage – Most people will pay a monthly premium for this coverage. Starting January 1, 2006, new Medicare prescription drug coverage will be available to everyone with Medicare. Everyone with Medicare can get this coverage that may help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is insurance. Private companies provide the coverage. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. Like other insurance, if a beneficiary decides not to enroll in a drug plan when they are first eligible, they may pay a penalty if they choose to join later.

SOURCE: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/MedicareGenInfo/index.html

Nisi Period (Latin for “Cooling-Off Period”)

Divorce

Please be aware that in Connecticut, all parties must wait 90 days to obtain a divorce, unless the parties are eligible for a nonadversarial (simplified) divorce or unless the parties have an agreement on all terms of the divorce and ask the court to waive the 90-day waiting period.

Connecticut law provides individuals with options when filing for a divorce.

The following are the different types of divorce processes:

Nonadversarial (simplified or “non-ad”) divorce
This type of divorce is a simplified process by which eligible parties may obtain a divorce within days without having to appear before a judge.
Divorce with an Agreement (or “waive 90”)
If you and your spouse have an agreement as to all issues, you may ask the court to waive the 90-day waiting period that is otherwise required by law, and get divorced at almost any time you choose.
Divorce without an Agreement
It is always preferable for you and your spouse to agree on the terms of your divorce. However, if you are unable to do so, a judge will make decisions regarding alimony, custody and visitation.

(Reposted from the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Website)

5 Inexpensive New England Getaways!

Trying to plan a weekend getaway but don’t quite have the money for it? No worries – I have compiled a list of cheap weekend trips that are perfect for New England in the summertime.

  1. Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Located just 40 miles north of Boston, this town can be reached by train or car. There you may find the famous docks of Gloucester, visit the beach, or grab true (yet cheap) New England cuisine. With aspects of both Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, skip the expensive places, and just head to Cape Ann for the weekend!
  2. Lake Placid, New York. Do you believe in miracles? This famous New York town is most known for holding the 1980 Winter Olympics. Tour the site where the Olympics were held for as little as $32 which grants you entry into various other sites and attractions for a discount and stay at the Olympic Motor Inn for a mere $76 a night!
  3. Why not try a local campground? Campsites are a cheap place to stay at night and provide a plethora of free activities during the day. Go hiking, plan a picnic somewhere near the campsite, bring your bikes and go mountain biking – the outdoor activity possibilities are endless! Camping is definitely more for the outdoorsy and active family, but it is one of the most inexpensive weekend getaways for families.
  4. Branford, Connecticut. This beach town offers great seafood restaurants, places for hiking, and public beaches. You may rent a small cottage or choose to stay in a cheaper hotel. This is the perfect weekend getaway for just two or the entire family!
  5. Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield is a town with a lot to offer, but it avoids the claustrophobic and overpriced aspects of a trip to a large city. Six Flags New England is just a few minutes from Springfield, which will provide fun for the whole family! In addition, sports fans can check out the Basketball Hall of Fame located in Springfield. While some might not think of Springfield when they think of vacation, this town has a lot to offer.

Bonus tips for saving money on a weekend getaway:

  • Use a service such as Groupon or TravelZoo to get a hotel or fun activity at a discounted price.
  • Consider staying one night instead of two or three to cut down on the hotel cost.
  • Call up a few friends that you haven’t seen in a while and invite them along. You can carpool to save money on gas or even split the cost of a hotel room.
  • Use points from a reward service to get a discount on a hotel room, flight, or meal.

Looking for a cheap weekend getaway in the New England area? Check out one or more of these incredible finds. Summer trips no longer need to be crazy expensive – you and your family may now have an incredible time without breaking the bank!

This firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief amongst other things, under the Bankruptcy Code.