1. What is Court Ordered Mediation
Both parties in every child custody case must attend court ordered mediation prior to attending the court hearing. A court appointed mediator will try to resolve the issue for the court by promoting settlement amongst the parties.
2. Do I Have to Agree with the Mediator’s Recommendation?
No. Absolutely not. You have a right to have a judge decide your case and I always tell my clients to simply say no if you do not agree.
3. Does the Judge Hear What I Have to Say at Mediation?
No. There is mediation privilege where the judge is not allowed to be privy to any of the communication that occurs at mediation. This is to allow the parties to feel free to communicate for settlement.
4. Does the Mediator’s Recommendation Go to the Judge?
In some counties, yes. In Los Angeles, no. Ventura County and San Diego County are both “recommending counties” meaning that the mediator’s recommendation will go to the judge and the judge can then decide whether the court would adopt the recommendation. Los Angeles is not a recommending county and the Judge is told nothing and hears nothing about mediation.
5. Do I have to Attend Court Appointed Mediation Before My Child Custody Hearing?
Yes, the court will not hear your case unless you attend mediation first.
6. Are Lawyers Present at Count Appointed Mediation?
In non-reporting or non-recommending counties such as Los Angeles, no, lawyers are not present.