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In California, child custody mediation is a mandatory process that provides parents an opportunity to discuss and resolve issues relating to the best interest of their children. The mediator interviews the parents and writes up a report that the judge will see as to what the mediator believes would be best for the child. Each parent will get a chance to tell their side of the story as to why they are the better parent, what they think is best for the child and why, and discuss what they believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of the other parent with a court appointed Family Court Services Mediator, or facilitator. Mediation is outlined in California Family Code section 3170.

Although attorneys are not allowed to attend these mediation meetings, often the enitre custody case will basically be heard and largely decided right there in that FCS meeting. Apart from a trial, the judge may never get to hear what is really going on at home or between the parents and so, the judge will weigh the Mediator's report heavily when making his decision regarding custody. This in mind, it is crucial that you meet and discuss your custody case with a lawyer from The Custody Firm prior to meeting with FCS. If the other parent is a liar, you could be blindsided by a bad FCS report and left with little to no custody at all. Apart from court appointed mediation, The Custody Firm provides private mediation which is available and encouraged. In private mediation parents try to work things out amongst themselves until they agree themselves on a parenting plan. After all, the court appointed mediator may create a report that neither parent likes and that report could be used as the backbone in the custody order made by the judge. To avoid surprises, The Custody Firm recommends that as much agreement as possible is worked out amongst the parents leaving only those issues that absolutely cannot be resolved between the parents for the judge to decide.

The family law attorneys at The Custody Lawyer provide alternatives to court mediation like private mediation as well as preperation for court appointed mediation interviews. Calling The Custody Lawyer today is the first step towards a fair custody arrangment and a parenting plan that both parents are satisfied with that is in the best interests of the child.

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