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If we cannot reach any agreement during mandatory settlement conference. Will the voluntary attorney who is acting as judge

San Diego, CA |

Document everything and write his/her opinion as recommendation to the real judge for trial?
I only ask this because after experienced the mandatory custody mediation in San Diego, the mediator wrote a recommendation report without considering any evidence, and the judge seems inclined to just rubber stamp this report. I fear the same thing will happen for the mandatory settlement conference too.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Mandatory settlement conferences are different then mandatory custody mediations. Generally, the Settlement Conferences are confidential and there is no report given to the judge if there is no agreement from the settlement conference. As you have already figured out, this is different with the mandatory custody mediation. I suggest that you hire an attorney to represent your interest in this divorce as they will know how to best represent your interest in this matter.

    This response is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. Any information provided is for educational purposes only. The exchange of communications through Avvo.com and similar social media does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me or my office. To schedule an appointment for an attorney-client privileged consultation, contact me at 909-860-0342. Thank you.


  2. The norm is that Settlement Officers do not write notes to be put in the file.

    Some Judges will have a chat with the Settlement Officer to describe the case before handing over the file and may also later ask whether the parties are close to settling or not. If one party takes a position that seems to have no merit at all during the Mandatory Settlement Conference it is possible that this extreme position could be conveyed to the Judge in an informal chat, and the Judge may remember it. The best defense to this is simply common sense. Only fight the issues where you have a shot at winning, and offer to settle the issues where you expect to lose anyways.

    One reason to hire a good Family Law Attorney is to get him/her to tell you which issues are worth fighting over, and which issues to settle.

    As stated above -- I have NOT actually stated any legal opinion, because I need to know more before I can start to form one.


  3. talk to an attorney regarding the current dispute over whether the settlement offers/discussion in a divorce case are protected as confidential communications under Evidence Code Section 1152.
    Regardless, i think it inappropriate to have a Settlement Conference Pro-Tem Judge confer with or give info to a Trial judge in an attempt to sway the ultimate trier of fact or influence the Trial judge to pre-judge the case without hearing all the admissible evidence. By definition such a procedure is prejudicial [pre-judge the issue]. If you think someone is trying to influence the trial judge at any time or in any way outside the public hearing and trial you then need an assertive lawyer to protect your rights and the record so you can obtain redress.

    The information provided is general information and not legal advice. Seek the confidential and specific legal advice you circumstances warrant by contacting an attorney directly.

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