In any family law action, whether it be divorce, legal separation, paternity or any other type of case, when custody or visitation is in dispute, the matter must be mediated. The Court provides a qualified mediator to mediate these issues. In Sacramento County, and in most California counties, attorneys are not allowed to be present during the mediation process. It is the mediator's role to use his or her best efforts to encourage an agreement on these issues in accordance with what the mediator feels is in the best interest of the child or children.
In Sacramento County and many other Northern California counties, if an agreement is not reached, the mediator will make a recommendation to the Court. At that time, either party may request that the recommendation be made an order of the Court. Either party may also dispute the recommendation and request a hearing. No agreement or recommendation is legally effective between the parties unless it has been made an order of the Court. The mediator may interview the child or children during this process.
To learn more about custody and visitation in California please contact the family law lawyers at Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP.