Many times in probate and family court, the court refers you to probation or family service. What this means is in some contested cases, the court feels that it may be helpful to meet with a probation officer or family service officer(FSO). The term is for the same office. The idea is that sometimes you can work with that person to resolve all or part of the disputed issues before the court. Some probation officer will make some recommendations and will write up a stipulation if one is agreed. The officer acts as a type of mediator but does not have authority to tell you how the case is resolved but may give you guidance. They will also likely give the court an overview of disputed issues and may comment about efforts. It is important to be prepared, organized and polite whether represented or handling the matter on your own.