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Important Things To Know Before Mediation

Setting appointments
Placer Superior Court contracts with private mental health professionals throughout the area to provide court ordered mediation services. Mediation assignments are made from the Orientation class, either by mail or directly at the class. If parties have already attended the orientation class and request mediation prior to the next court hearing, the Office of Family Court Services will mail out notice of the mediation referral. A judge may also refer parties to mediation from the court hearing. Parties are instructed to contact the professional assigned as the Child Custody Mediator immediately to set up their appointments.

What is Parent Orientation?
Child Custody Mediation Orientation is a mandatory program primarily designed to prepare parents for mediation. The class also instructs parents about children's developmental stages and how they impact parenting plans. Time is also spent discussing conflict resolution, and Placer County's model for mediation. Mediation Orientation is held at the courthouse and lasts for about 1.5 hours. Both parties are ordered to attend prior to participation in mediation. There is no fee for this class.

Do children attend orientation?
Children should not attend orientation. This class is for parents only.

What if I can't attend orientation?
It is very important that you make every effort to attend this court ordered class. If an emergency prevents one party from attending orientation, a mediation assignment will still take place. However, if both parties fail to attend orientation, they will not receive a mediator assignment.

If this occurs, it is important that you still appear at the court hearing on the date scheduled. Both parties should be prepared to provide an explanation to the Judge why they were unable to attend orientation, and to re-schedule attendance for the class.

What if I miss my mediation appointment?
Because of the short time frame between the mediation appointment and the court hearing, another appointment may not be scheduled. If the other party attends as scheduled, the mediator may attempt to reach you by telephone.

If both parties fail to attend their scheduled session, it will be dropped and the court notified of your failure to attend. If this occurs, it is important that you still appear at the court hearing on the date scheduled.

Do children attend mediation?
Mediator may request that you bring the child/children for an interview. This takes place on an individual basis. Ask your mediator if they would like to interview your child.

Are both parties seen together?
Yes. Mediators see both parties together. The exception to this is if there is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in place or one party alleges there has been recent domestic violence with the other parent. If this is the case, the parties will be given separate appointments. You must notify the mediator if you are requesting separate sessions due to domestic violence.

I have a domestic violence restraining order. Can I bring a support person? Yes, a support person may accompany you to the mediation appointment. However, the support person cannot participate in, and is required to maintain confidentiality of, the session.

A mediator may exclude a support person from a session if:

  1. The support person attempts to participate in the session;
  2. The support person acts as an advocate for the victim in a session;
  3. The support person's presence or actions disrupt the session.

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