father and I just finished the mediation 2 weeks ago (this is our second time going to court after our original court ordered 7 months ago). we finally got the paperwork from mediation and I disagree with some of mediation recommendations. For instance i wanted to change holidays to yearly for each of us to share. Our son just turned 1 yr and I didn't want father to have overnights at the moment until he's older (about 3 yrs) What can i expect from the judge? Can I tell the judge what i want or will he just order what mediation recommended?
First, we have to get the terms corrected. Family Court "Mediation" is not Mediation, at all. It is a process now termed Child Custody Recommending Counseling in which counselors interview the parties and make recommendations to the Court. True Mediation never consults with the Courts, it simply endeavors to resolve cases.
After CCRC (Mediation), if you do not agree to the recommendations, you may ask the Court (by way of OSC or Motion) for an order and changes to be made to the recommendation. You may do that in a hearing in which you may "cross examine" the CCRC counselor and put on your proof. The unfortunate fact is that the Courts seldom veer far from the actual recommendation. On the other hand, you may request that the Court refer your matter for an Evidence Code section 730 evaluation in which, AT YOUR COST, a professional such as a psychologist, MFT, Psychiatrist, etc., will make a detailed analysis of your specific case. That professional, though paid for by you, is a Court Expert, i.e., that person's function is to make a report to the Court that is biased only by the results of the detailed evaluation. Some Courts readily approve such a request, some do not.
The positive of a 730 evaluation is that the parties will get a broad overview of their situation and an understanding of how their dispute is damaging the children. The down sides are that (1) the party seeking the 730 sometimes learns that s/he is the problem instead of the other side and (2) the Courts are even more likely to follow the 730 recommendation than that of the CCRC counselor's.
I hope this helps
This is not intended to be legal advice to replace that of an attorney in a face to face setting. Rather it is to give the reader an idea of his/her options. One should not rely solely upon these comments without consulting with an attorney. Should the reader CHOOSE to do so, he/she assumes all responsibility as every case, venue, jurisdiction and fact pattern are different; this response is generic in nature and may not even fit the reader's particular situation.
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Family Law Attorney
I haven't read your file so I don't know what the facts are of your case. That would require a review of the mediator's report (have you read it?) and a review of the reasons why, for example, you don't want your son to have overnights. Regarding the holiday exchange, what is the reason? That's a small issue although the overnights could be important.
Yes, judges do read and listen to the mediator's report. Lawyers have had plenty of success refuting a mediator's report with good legal and factual reasons. Your success in this area would depend on a lot of factors, such as the judge, presentation, the law in this area, and the facts of your case and the reasons you're requesting the order.
Do you have a lawyer? I would really suggest that you hire one. My office offers free consultations and the telephone number is (866) 402-4038. I believe that Mr. Mantele also handles cases in your case. Avvo has several excellent family law attorneys to choose from in San Diego. I cannot guarantee a result on a case or what a judge will rule, no lawyer can, although it's a good start.
Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless you have consulted with her and signed a fee or letter agreement confirming her representation of you. This post does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationship results.