Family Code section 3177 provides that mediation proceedings must be private and confidential and that all communications from the parties to the mediator made in the proceedings, whether verbal or written, will be deemed to be official information within the meaning of Evidence Code section 1040 (public entity’s privilege to refuse and prevent disclosure of official information). Because the privilege is held by court personnel and not the parties, however, Family Code section 3177 does not give either party a right to raise confidentiality of the mediation processs to bar a mediator’s testimony if local rules permit it. Although court personnel must not disclose confidential information to the public, they may disclosure the information to the court if local rules provide for such information. Marriage of Rosson (1986) 178 CA3d 1094, 1105.
Even if local rules do not specifically so provide, counsel should always request that information submitted to the court that contains psychological evaluations of a child or recommendations regarding custody of, or visitation with, a child be placed in the confidential potion of the court file of the proceeding. Family Code section 3025.5.
For more information on how you can mediate your divorce in Orange County or Los Angeles County, contact an Orange County divorce lawyer for more information.