FAMILY CODE SECTION 3160-3165
3160. Each superior court shall make a mediator available. The
court is not required to institute a family conciliation court in
order to provide mediation services.
3161. The purposes of a mediation proceeding are as follows:
(a) To reduce acrimony that may exist between the parties.
(b) To develop an agreement assuring the child close and
continuing contact with both parents that is in the best interest of
the child, consistent with Sections 3011 and 3020.
(c) To effect a settlement of the issue of visitation rights of
all parties that is in the best interest of the child.
3162. (a) Mediation of cases involving custody and visitation
concerning children shall be governed by uniform standards of
practice adopted by the Judicial Council.
(b) The standards of practice shall include, but not be limited
to, all of the following:
(1) Provision for the best interest of the child and the
safeguarding of the rights of the child to frequent and continuing
contact with both parents, consistent with Sections 3011 and 3020.
(2) Facilitation of the transition of the family by detailing
factors to be considered in decisions concerning the child’s future.
(3) The conducting of negotiations in such a way as to equalize
power relationships between the parties.
(c) In adopting the standards of practice, the Judicial Council
shall consider standards developed by recognized associations of
mediators and attorneys and other relevant standards governing
mediation of proceedings for the dissolution of marriage.
(d) The Judicial Council shall offer training with respect to the
standards to mediators.
3163. Courts shall develop local rules to respond to requests for a
change of mediators or to general problems relating to mediation.
3164. (a) The mediator may be a member of the professional staff of
a family conciliation court, probation department, or mental health
services agency, or may be any other person or agency designated by
(b) The mediator shall meet the minimum qualifications required of
a counselor of conciliation as provided in Section 1815.
3165. Any person, regardless of administrative title, hired on or
after January 1, 1998, who is responsible for clinical supervision of
evaluators, investigators, or mediators or who directly supervises
or administers the Family Court Services evaluation or mediation
programs shall meet the same continuing education requirements
specified in Section 1816 for supervising and associate counselors of