During contested divorce proceedings, spouses generally battle over things great and small – from the family home to the flat screen TV. One major battle involves custody of children. When the separating couple cannot agree on child custody during the divorce process, the court may order mediation.
If you and your spouse were ordered to attend mediation regarding custody and visitation rights of your children, it is important that you are prepared and have sufficient knowledge of your rights. The first step in getting what you want is to hire an experienced Central Valley child custody attorney to help protect your rights and properly prepare you for mediation and any other court proceeding.
Court Ordered Mediation and the California Family Code
California family law authorizes judges to order mediation in divorce proceedings where one or both parents cannot agree to settle their difference on child custody without court intervention.
Family Code § 3170(a) states:
“If it appears on the face of a petition, application, or other pleading to obtain or modify a temporary or permanent custody order that custody, visitation, or both are contested, the court shall set the contested issues for mediation.”
Section 3170(a)(2) further states, one or both spouses can also request mediation in a divorce proceeding:
“Prior to filing the petition, application, or other pleading to obtain or modify a temporary or permanent custody or visitation order, a party to an existing case may request that the court set a custody or visitation issue for mediation, and the court may set that issue for mediation.”
What Is Mediation?
Most California courts have a family service program where judges refer couples who cannot agree on custody and visitation. This is known as a mediation. This program allows the divorcing couple to meet with a court-appointed mediator. Mediators typically have a background in psychology, marriage counseling or social work, and other related issues.
The goal of mediation is to help the divorcing couple come to an agreement on the issues relating to custody and visitation of their children. It is important to note that the guiding doctrines of the California family code sections is to do what is in the best interest of the child involved.
Preparing for Child Custody Mediation
One of the best ways for you and your Central Valley divorce attorney to prepare for a child custody mediation is to ask yourself what exactly is in your child’s best interest. When you thoroughly investigate this question, it allows you set mental goals for the mediation process. Also, it is important to note that if you are dealing with a difficult spouse, it is best to stay focused on coming to an agreement that is in your child’s best interest.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or planning to file for divorce, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley divorce attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.