Monday, April 21, 2014

What is court ordered child custody mediation and what effect does it have on the final custody arrangement?

In any divorce, legal separation, paternity action or any other type of case in which custody or visitation is in dispute, the court must refer the matter to the County’s mediation service. In other words, the Court provides what is intended to be a qualified child custody mediator to mediate these issues. In most California counties, attorneys are not allowed to be present during the mediation process. During the mediation, the mediator's role to use his or her best efforts to encourage an agreement between the parents regarding child custody in accordance with what the mediator feels is in the best interest of the child or children.

In some counties, if an agreement is not reached, the mediator will make a recommendation to the Court. At that time, either party may request that the recommendation be made an order of the Court. Either party may also dispute the recommendation and request a hearing. No agreement or recommendation is legally effective between the parties unless it has been made an order of the Court. The mediator may interview the child or children during this process.
If an agreement is reached in mediation, the agreement is reduced to writing and sent to the court.
In Orange County, if the parties fail to reach an agreement on child custody through mediation, either party my refuse to allow the mediator to share the mediator’s opinions with the court.  If you do not want the mediator to share his or her opinions with the court, you must indicate your preference in writing on a form provided after the mediation concludes.  If either party declines to allow the child custody mediator to share his or her opinions with the court, the mediator will simply notify the court the fact that the parties have or have not reached an agreement on child custody.

If you have additional questions, give us a call at (949) 370-8000, check our website at or our google page at:

By: Robert R. Beauchamp
Law Office of Robert R Beauchamp
23120 Alicia Pkwy
Second Floor
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
Tel:  949-370-8000
Fax: 855-370-8100

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