California law requires parents to attend a mediation prior to any hearing on custody or visitation issues. Once a party files a request for the court to decide an issue relating to custody or visitation, the court will set a mediation date for the parties which will take place prior to the hearing.
At the mediation, a mediator will attempt to resolve the custody or visitation dispute between the parties. The mediator is a neutral third party employed by the court to resolve custody disputes. The mediator may meet with the parties together and/or separately, and will discuss the dispute and potential resolutions with the parties. If an agreement is reached between the parties at mediation, the mediator will have the parties sign a Conciliation Court Agreement which will be submitted to the court for review. If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, the parties can now proceed to court where their dispute can be heard before a judge. Any information that was revealed or discussed at the mediation is confidential and will not be presented to the court at the hearing.
If either party fails to attend the mandatory mediation, the court will reschedule the mediation and continue the hearing to a later date. The court will also require that each party produces at the hearing a confirmation that they attended the mediation and completed a Parents and Children Together (PACT) seminar. http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/familylaw/ui/pact.aspx.
****The opinion above is not intended to be legal advice and absolutely does not create any attorney-client relationship between its author and the readers. Please consult an attorney for information or advice specific to your legal issue.****
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