Any time custody is in dispute when filing a Request for Order (RFO) the parties will have to attend mediation. The Court will not hear the case until the mediation requirement has been completed. If either party fails to attend mediation they could receive a sanction from the Court for failure to attend.
Remember to be 15 minutes early to check in with the mediation office. Generally, the parties meet with the mediator together at the same time. However, if there are domestic violence issues then you may ask to meet separately.
Mediation applies only to issues of custody and visitation. Support and division or property will not be addressed by the mediator.
Your attorney cannot participate in the mediation, but you should meet with your attorney prior to mediation to discuss what to expect and how to approach mediation.
In some counties mediation is confidential. These “non-reporting” counties do not provide the Court with any information other than what was or was not agreed to in mediation. In other counties mediation is not confidential. The “reporting” counties will make recommendations to the Court regardless of whether or not you and the other party come to an agreement.
Mediation is confidential/non-reporting. The mediator will only report to the Court whether or not there was an agreement and what the terms of the agreement that were reached in mediation. If there is no agreement, then they will report no agreement. For more information go to http://www.occourts.org/directory/family-court-services/
Los Angeles County:
Mediation is confidential/non-reporting. The mediator will only report to the Court whether or not there was an agreement and what the terms of the agreement that were reached in mediation. If there is no agreement, then they will report no agreement. Complete “Our children first program” before attending mediation either online (http://ww2.lacourt.org/ourChildrenFirst/ui/index.aspx) or in person at the court house. (http://www.lacourt.org/division/familylaw/FL0120.aspx) For more information go to http://www.lacourt.org/division/familylaw/FL0050.aspx
Mediation is NOT confidential/ reporting. Prior to attending mediation you will have to complete an online course, online video, and questionnaire. If you cannot reach an agreement, then the mediator will prepare a parenting plan to submit to the judge for review. For more information go to http://www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/familylaw/custodyvisitation.shtml
San Bernardino County:
Mediation is NOT confidential/reporting. The mediator may make recommendations to the court regardless of an agreement by the parties. For more information go to http://www.sb-court.org/Divisions/FamilyCourtServices.aspx