If you are going through a
child custody battle, or if you have children and are contemplating filing for
divorce, it is important to know that the court will send you to mediation. Clients
often ask, "is family law mediation important?" The short answer is YES!
With a few exceptions, the court orders the parties involved in a child
custody battle to attend mediation with a neutral, court appointed mediator.
At the mediation, the parties meet, without their attorneys, with the
mediator and discuss what they want and what they think is in the best
interest of their children. It is important that the parties are cordial
with the mediator and the other party. It is also imperative that each
party discuss all issues with the mediator.
Following the mediation, the mediator submits a report with the court.
In the report, the mediator makes his/her recommendation with regards
to the best interest of the child. If reasonable, the court typically
adopts the mediator's recommendation and makes it a court order. This
order is only temporary until a judgment following trial, or a stipulated
judgment by the parties. While the parties still have an opportunity to
be heard at the hearing on child custody and child visitation, it is often
times difficult to convince the judge to change the mediator's recommendation.
The mediators can become a "de facto judge."
The reason the court generally adopts the mediator's recommendation
is that the mediator is afforded the opportunity to spend siginificant
time with the parties. The mediator can ask questions and get the perspective
of both parties without any time limitations.
As you may or may be aware, the mediation also has an indirect effect on
child support. Courts are required by statute to utilize guidelines when
calculating child support. One important factor is the amount of time
the parents spend with the minor child. So, whether you realize it or
not, the mediator has a profound impact on your family law matter and
you should be prepared before going to mediation.
If you are going through a child custody battle, or are thinking about
contact our Rancho Cucamonga office for a free consultation. Our Rancho Cucamonga
divorce attorneys would like to spend some time discussing the specifics
of your case.