Mediation is a term often heard in family law, but unless you work in the legal profession, you may not know exactly what it means or how it applies to your divorce or child custody case.
Mediation is the process where both parties to a family law case meet with a third party and attempt to resolve their case. It is standard protocol at local Southern California courts, including Long Beach, for the parties in a family law case to be ordered to mediation.
Sometimes the mediator is a judge, although it usually will not be the judge on your case, but a different judge in the same courthouse, assigned to conduct your mediation. However, usually mediators are family law attorneys volunteering their time to act as mediators.
If you and your ex have each retained a lawyer, the lawyers will be allowed to participate in the mediation process.
If you do not have an attorney, remember that the mediator’s role is to try to convince the parties to agree on certain terms. But, the mediator cannot force you to agree to anything. Although participating in mediation is mandatory, it is not mandatory to resolve your case in mediation. Go through the mediation process and be cooperative. If you do not settle the case, at least try to learn as much as you can about what is important to the other side. That information will benefit you in the long run.