It is believed that court-ordered child custody mediation at the court helps warring parents reach an agreement regarding issues of child custody and visitation rights. The mediator, keeping the best interests of the child in mind, helps you to come up with a parenting plan on the various issues.
- Full agreement – If complete agreement has been reached on all issues, both the parents will have to sign a written agreement prepared by the mediator. When it gets approved by the court, it becomes an official court order.
- Partial agreement- If the parties are only able to agree on some but not all of the issues, the mediator can draft up an agreement on those issues and list out the issues that still remain to be decided by the court.
- No agreement – If the parties involved (the parents) are not able to find the middle ground, the mediator’s work is essentially done in Orange County custody cases. That is because Orange County is not a “reporting” county. However, in “reporting” counties like Riverside County and San Bernardino counties, the mediator can make custody recommendations and proposed custody orders for the court to consider at the hearing. So in those counties, if you do not agree to the recommendations made by the mediator, you will have to give your reasons to the judge during a court hearing. The judge will be interested to know the specific reasons.
- Court hearing – A court hearing will be necessary if the recommendations are not acceptable (in reporting counties) or the parents have not been able to resolve their disputes or if one of the parents changed their mind after first coming to an agreement in court. If all issues have been resolved, a court hearing is not required as long as the mediation agreement is incorporated into a written Stipulation & Order that is signed by both parties and then filed with the court.