What are Family Court Services?
Mediation services are provided by California Courts' Family Court Services programs to assist divorcing and separating parents in resolving disagreements about the care of their children. A team of professionals staffs the California Courts Family Court Services. Mediation services are offered by the Courts for disputes over custody and visitation of children. It is necessary to ave a family law case pending in Santa Barbara County before mediation can take place between parents.
Do I have to go to Mediation?
California does require mediation for disputes involving custody or visitation. A court hearing on custody and visitation issues must be preceded by mediation.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, disputes are resolved without the involvement of a court system between two parties. The mediation process in California involves a third-party impartial mediator who listens to both sides, helps them identify and understand areas of disagreement, and encourages them to work together to resolve disputes. Different types of disputes can be resolved through this process, including divorces, child custody disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, business issues, and contract negotiations. A settlement through mediation is often more cost-effective and faster than a court case.
Upon reaching an agreement, the mediator will assist the parents in putting it in writing for the judge or commissioner to review. After a judge or commissioner signs the parenting plan stipulation, it becomes a court order. Upon filing the stipulation with the court and being signed by the judge, it is binding on both parents. The mediator doesn't make recommendations to the court.
Do I have to make an agreement on Mediation?
No. Mediation does not require you to come to an agreement. If you want to mediate on behalf of your children, you should consult with your lawyer about what agreement is in their best interest. You cannot be forced into an agreement by mediators. Do not make an agreement if the terms are not fair or reasonable to you. Unless you reach an agreement during mediation, the judge will make the custody decision without knowing what you discussed or recommended during mediation. A recommending mediation program exists in Ventura County where the mediator recommends to the judge what they feel is in the best interests of the child if an agreement cannot be reached. For mediations in Ventura, we use a different strategy, so please contact our office for more information.
If you have questions about Family Court Services or mediation, contact Morales Law, P.C. at (805)-422-7966 or at www.mysantabarbaralawyer.com. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. We are Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyers. Factual circumstances will vary and require specific procedures. This is for informational purposes only and should not be relied prior to, or in place of, consulting with legal counsel.