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With divorce mediation, do I have the right to copies of documents prepared and filed for my divorce?

Santa Rosa, CA |

It states in the agreement that: "Mediation relies on confidentality. You agree not to utilize any information, including drafts of any document prepared by the mediator in court or otherwise against the other person(s) in mediation. (Lawyer's name), their file, records or notes, etc., are not subject to subpoena by you or anyone acting on your behalf. You waive the right to subpoena the mediator, their file, records or notes, etc., at any time. You make this agreement with each other and the mediator, as a condition of mediation. " What does that mean? Am i entitled to copies of the documents he has put together and/or filed with the court? It also states that we will recieve a copy of each draft prepared by the mediator. So far, we have not recieved anything.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Anything filed in court is a public record so of course you can get copies. Everything else you talked about is covered in the agreement with your mediator. Normally, except for things actually contained in the court file, everything else obtained or exchanged during the mediation cannot be used for any other purpose. As far as copies of each draft. I assume you are talking about the final agreement. Perhaps the mediator has not prepared a first draft yet. Despite the fact you are in mediation, you should have a consulting attorney working with you specifically. If you don't, you are at a big disadvantage.

Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at schwerin@ix.netcom.com. Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.

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Hillary Johns

Hillary Johns

Posted

If you have custody issues in your case, it's a really good idea to have a lawyer whom you can speak with as counsel or call with questions.

Posted

Mr. Schwerin is correct as to all statements. And also correct that at this point you may want to consult and retain an attorney.

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Posted

You should be able to get any document that has been filed with the Court. The mediator may not have put anything together whih may be why you don't have a draft yet, but I would ask the mediator directly what the status is.

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Posted

The confidentiality "boilerplate" provision you quoted is pretty standard. If you have concerns or questions about obtaining records for your own use, the first person you should speak to is the mediator.

Additionally, it is a good idea to have a consulting attorney advising you during the mediation process, assuming you can afford one. Such attorney, who only represents your interests, can help you understand your rights and obligations, including the value of your position on any particular issue, so you'll be able to better negotiate settlement terms.

That said, a consulting attorney, as perhaps you know, is not mandatory to utilize mediation, and often times, people can't afford both the mediator's fees and the fees of their own consulting attorney. If you can afford one, great. If not, then you can still use mediation to save costs and heartache, compared to litigation.

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Posted

Any documents "filed with the court" are a matter of public record, thus you have a right to obtain copies of those documents.

James V. Sansone, Esq.
Attorney & Counselor at Law
Law Offices of James V. Sansone
1260 N Dutton Ave, Ste. 135
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
t: (707) 542-5611
f: (707) 542-5655
jsansone@jamessansonelaw.com
www.jamessansonelaw.com

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