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Yreka, California 96097
Phone: 530-842-0192
Fax: 530-842-0198
Email: Familycourtsvcs@siskiyou.courts.ca.gov
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CHILD CUSTODY MEDIATION

 

DEFINITION OF MEDIATION

 

California Family Code section 3170 requires mediation whenever issues of custody or visitation are in dispute. This applies whenever a party to the case wants to obtain or change a custody or visitation order and the other party does not agree to the proposed plan.

 

Mediation is a form of negotiation between people with the help of a professional mediator who will assist them in reaching an agreement regarding child custody/timeshare and other parenting issues. Family Court Services mediation is provided free of charge to parties.

 

PURPOSE OF MEDIATION

 

The purpose of mediation is to:

          Help parents understand the impact their conflict has on their children.

          Develop and agreement that assures the children frequent and continuing contact with both parents and that assures the health, safety, and welfare of the children.

          Achieve a resolution of the issues of custody and rights to parenting time that is in the best interest of the children.

 

 HOW DO I BEGIN MEDIATION?

 

 After the Court has referred you to mediation, you must meet the Parent Orientation obligation before participating in mediation. Either your mediation appointment will be set in court, or the Mediator to whom your case is assigned will telephone you to set up your meditation appointment after both parties have completed the Parent Orientation obligation. Call or go to Family Court Services or click on Parent Orientation class for further information.

 

 HOW MANY MEDIATION SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE?

 

 Many parents/parties reach agreement in a single two-hour session. Other parents/parties require several sessions.

 

 DO THE CHILDREN OR THE PARENTS’ ATTORNEYS ATTEND MEDIATION?

 

 No. Only parents attend the initial session. Attorneys are not included in the mediation session. Children may be interviewed by the Mediator at another time if it is deemed to be appropriate.

 

 WILL PROPERTY ISSUES OR CHILD SUPPORT BE DISCUSSED?

 

 Not usually. The sessions will focus on these questions: When will the children spend time with each of their parents/or with each party? How will the parents/parties make co-parenting decisions about the children while each is with them? How will the parents/parties plan to co-parent the children?

 

 WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION?

 

 The process of solving family problems in court can be very expensive, and is likely to intensify the angry feelings parents may have towards each other. Custody “battles” put tremendous pressure on the parents and the children. In mediation the parents have an opportunity to resolve some of their differences, and can learn to co-parent for the sake of their children and themselves. In mediation the parents are empowered to decide what is in the best interests of their children, rather than leaving it up to the court to decide.

 

 WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES?

 

 If the parents reach an agreement, a written copy will be prepared by the Mediator and will be sent to them, their attorneys, and the Court in advance of the next court hearing. A Judge can adopt their agreement as the on-going parenting plan court order.

 If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the Mediator will prepare the report to show the areas about which the parents/parties could agree and any issues about which they were unable to agree. Typically the Mediator will make a recommendation to the Judge about any issues about which the parents/parties were unable to agree. The Judge will determine how to resolve the parents/parties disputes. It is possible that the parents/parties could choose to participate in and pay for a child custody investigation conducted by a private Child Custody Evaluator and the results will be taken into consideration by the Court. An evidentiary hearing might be offered at another day and time, or another remedy could be offered or ordered by the Judge, depending upon the specifics of the continuing dispute.

 








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