Family Court Mediation
If you’re in an ongoing child custody case in court, chances are that you have been ordered to go to mandatory mediation. What exactly is it and what should you expect?
Family court mediation is an attempt to settle your case by a court appointed mediator. You get an appointment to go to the courthouse which is sometimes half an hour before your case is scheduled. These mediations are confidential and you can even request to speak to the mediator alone without the presence of the other party. Lawyers are not allowed in the mediation.
The mediator will listen to both sides and propose a plan at the end of the session. It is your choice whether to accept the plan. In some counties like San Bernardino and Riverside, if you reject the plan the mediator can actually write a recommendation to the judge which will carry significant weight. In Los Angeles County, however, the mediators do not make recommendations and if you choose not to agree with the proposed plan it will generally not be held against you.
The Mediator is a Neutral
Although oftentimes the mediator is a volunteer attorney, they are not your attorney. They are neutral parties who listen to both sides to try to get an agreement. The mediator will warn you of this before he or she begins. Why is this important? Often people rely on the mediator to solve their problems; telling them their concerns and facts of the case hoping that the mediator will punish the other side. This is not how it works. The mediator will listen to you but their goal is to form an agreement, even if that agreement is not in the best interest of your case.
What To Do?
It is always wise to create a timeline of events of the past six months. Create a timeline of what the current custodial schedule is, if it has changed in any way, and what you would like to have. Be sure to explain why your plan is best, including any facts about the child’s school schedule, the working schedule of the parents, and whether there is proper transportation. The mediator might not agree with your plan, so be prepared to have a back up plan.
For those counties that are “recommending,” demeanor is everything. While it may be tempting to tell the mediator all the bad things that your co-parent has done, you do not want to come across as a chronic blamer. You always want to present a professional appearance and one that is willing to work with the other parent.
Family court mediation can be a very difficult and confusing process. You should always show up prepared and polite and try to negotiate in good faith.
How can I help?
If you have any more question about divorce, child custody, or criminal defense please contact me for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-227-1176 and ask to speak with me. Connect with me on Google+.
The Law Offices of Levon Kevorkian is a boutique firm located in Pasadena, California handling Divorce, Child Custody, and Criminal Defense cases. Our office is located at 1055 E. Colorado Blvd. Fifth Floor, Pasadena CA 91106.
Disclaimer: This blog post, and other blog posts by me, are not meant to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be formed by these blog posts.