FAMILY CODE SECTION 3170-3173
3170. (a) If it appears on the face of a petition, application, or
other pleading to obtain or modify a temporary or permanent custody
or visitation order that custody, visitation, or both are contested,
the court shall set the contested issues for mediation.
(b) Domestic violence cases shall be handled by Family Court
Services in accordance with a separate written protocol approved by
the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council shall adopt guidelines for
services, other than services provided under this chapter, that
courts or counties may offer to parents who have been unable to
resolve their disputes. These services may include, but are not
limited to, parent education programs, booklets, video recordings, or
referrals to additional community resources.
3171. (a) If a stepparent or grandparent has petitioned, or
otherwise applied, for a visitation order pursuant to Chapter 5
(commencing with Section 3100), the court shall set the matter for
(b) A natural or adoptive parent who is not a party to the
proceeding is not required to participate in the mediation
proceeding, but failure to participate is a waiver of that parent’s
right to object to a settlement reached by the other parties during
mediation or to require a hearing on the matter.
3172. Mediation shall not be denied to the parties on the basis
that paternity is at issue in a proceeding before the court.
3173. (a) Upon an order of the presiding judge of a superior court
authorizing the procedure in that court, a petition may be filed
pursuant to this chapter for mediation of a dispute relating to an
existing order for custody, visitation, or both.
(b) The mediation of a dispute concerning an existing order shall
be set not later than 60 days after the filing of the petition.