What is "Child Custody Mediation?"

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What is "custody?"

"Custody" means:

  • who the child lives with and
  • who makes important decisions for the child about his or her health care, education, and other important things. This is often called a "parenting plan."


What is "child custody mediation?"

When parents cannot agree on who will have "custody" of their children, the judge will probably send them to mediation.


What is a "mediator?"

Mediators work for the courts. They are specially trained to help parents make parenting plans that are good for the children.

  • Mediators know how to work with couples that are separated, and they are trained to understand domestic violence.
  • If you are worried about your safety, or your children's safety, tell the mediator. You can ask to speak with the mediator alone.


What will the mediator do?

The mediator will try to help both parents make a plan that:

  • is safe for both parents and the children;
  • explains how the parents have agreed they will make decisions about the children;
  • states when the children will be with each parent.


What is a "child custody recommending counselor?"

In some counties in California (including Contra Costa County), if the parents can't agree, the mediator might make a recommendation to the court regarding what child custody and visitation plan he or she believes will be in a child's best interests.  In these "recommending counties," the mediator is called a "child custody recommending counselor."

  • When these mediators made a recommendation, it must be in writing, and a copy given to each parent, any attorneys involved, and the judge.
  • The recommendation will state what custody orders the child custody recommending counselor believes will be in the best interests of the child, and why.


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