Is Mediation Mandatory During a California Divorce?


January 15, 2023, In Divorce

Divorce mediation is a process where spouses come together during one or more sessions to have open, hostility-free communication about their futures.

During these sessions, both spouses can openly discuss their divorce expectations by negotiating the details of their dissolution with an unbiased, third-party mediator to seek an agreement that will keep their divorce proceedings private — instead of being decided by a judge during litigation.

Our Los Angeles family law attorney at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC know not all couples and their divorce circumstances are a fit for mediation. Fortunately, mandatory mediation is only necessary for California when there is a dispute over child custody. Otherwise, they can skip the process altogether and go to trial to litigate the details of their divorce after the mandatory six-month waiting period expires.

Our Los Angeles County divorce attorneys walk each of our clients through their unique family law journey, so they know when private discussions, mediation, or litigation is the best way to align their goals with California’s family laws.

What is Decided During Child Custody Mediation in California?

Child custody can become a significantly heated debate during California divorce proceedings. This is why the California family courts require parents to attend mediation before they can take their case to court, so they understand how the state’s laws impact the details of their impasse.

The courts also require parents to attend child custody mediation, so they can reach a resolution that imposes the least stress and anxiety on the children, so parents can create a structured and mutually beneficial parenting plan that is legally binding.

A California parenting plan agreement may include details regarding:

  • Legal and physical custody decisions.
  • Visitation schedules, including weekdays and weekends.
  • Summer, winter, and spring break schedules.
  • Holidays, vacations, and birthdays.
  • Parent-child communication during off days.
  • Extracurricular activities and parent involvement.
  • Transportation, including car and booster seat requirements.
  • Healthcare, including doctor appointments and vaccinations.
  • Religious practices.
  • Discipline methods.
  • Cellphone and other communication device access.
  • Post-judgment modifications processes and procedures.

California child custody mediation allows parents to maintain control over their parenting plan, instead of litigating their cases in front of a judge. Keep in mind, when you leave your child custody decisions up to a judge, you are allowing someone you do not know to decide what is best for your children.

Mediation is a healthier alternative for both parents and children by decreasing household stress and ensuring your side of the story is told during a confidential process. This allows both parties to feel comfortable talking about important and sensitive topics freely and openly. It also allows both parties to save time and money by avoiding litigation by seeking a nonaggressive and peaceful resolution to their divorce proceedings.

If you would like to discuss your divorce details in private, pursue child custody mediation, or talk about how litigation may be your only option to getting desirable results, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today.

We can help provide solutions that produce results.

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If you are considering a Divorce in Los Angeles, CA, Contact our experienced Attorney Today and Get a Free Consultation.

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