At our law office, we get a lot of questions as to what mediation entails. This blog post will be devoted to mediation. First, attorneys cannot attend mediation. So, the client and the opposing party are on their own.
Mediation is required whenever it appears that an issue of child custody or child visitation of a minor is at issue, whether it be an initial order or a modification.
Pursuant to Family Code section 3170(a), mediation must be set before or concurrent with the setting of the hearing. A party’s failure to mediate may estop him or her from being heard on a custody or visitation request. Marriage of Economou (1990) 224 CA3d 1466. In other words, you must go to mediation before a court will hear your case in a formal hearing.
The duration of mediation is within the court’s discretion. When mediation is unsuccessful in resolving child custody or visitation issues, the trial court has met the statutory requirement and has considerable discretion in determining whether the facts and circumstances justify an order for additional mediation. Marriage of Green (1989) 213 CA3d 14.
Pursuant to Family Code section 3177, mediation proceedings must be private and confidential and that all communications from the parties to the mediator are confidential in accordance to the mediator’s privilege. Although the court personnel must not disclose confidential information to the public, they may disclose the information to the court if local rules provide for such disclosure. Marriage of Rosson (1986) 178 CA3d 1094.
For more information on mediation and it how it operates through the court system, contact an Orange County divorce lawyer for more information.