In Placer County child custody cases, the parties are automatically referred to Placer County Family Court Services to do child custody mediation.  In other circumstances, if the parties request it, mediation will be handled by a Placer County approved private mediator (private marriage and family therapist) at the parties’ cost.

 

In some cases, the parties’ dispute has become so hostile that the parties are unwilling to be in the same room together because of the emotional escalation.  In other cases, one parent may be afraid or intimidated by the controlling/abusive tendencies of the other parent as experienced in past litigation and/or during the former relationship.  In other cases, there has been a history of domestic violence between the spouses and a court order forbids the parties to be together in the same room.  In all of these situations, if a party so requests, the Placer County child custody mediator will conduct separate mediation sessions with the parties.  The Placer County mediator’s mission is to determine the children’s best interests and avoid getting distracted with past interpersonal disputes between the parents.  If the parties’ hostility will interfere with the goals of mediation, the mediator will allow separate interviews to help productively arrive at a plan that is in the children’s best interest.

 

There is a significant disadvantage to requesting separate mediation sessions: Neither party will have an immediate opportunity to respond to the other party’s allegations.  The mediator will be getting stories from both sides at two different times without substantive response from the other parent.  This can leave the mediator confused and potentially unwilling to fully trust either or both parents’ accounts of the dispute.

 

If you are involved in a Placer County child custody case and you want to engage in separate mediation sessions with your Placer County child custody mediator, please give us a call.  We can help you understand the Placer County child custody and mediation process in a free half-hour attorney consultation.