Why do I have to attend mediation with the other parent in my California family law case when we are so far apart in our respective positions from our paperwork?

In all family law cases in California, the parties are required to attend mediation prior to the court marking and orders on child custody and visitation. This requirement is imposed irrespective of the parties' positions. The premise behind mediation is that this is a tool for which the court may reduce the congestion of cases taking up court time by sending the parties to a psychologist with specialized training in developing parenting plans. Mediation may either be confidential or not depending on what county the case is filed in. Currently Riverside, San Bernardino counties are reporting counties while Los Angeles is not. In Reporting counties, the mediator will make a recommendation to the court based on a discussion with the parties. It is imperative that parents attending mediation in these counties be on their best behavior when interacting with the mediator and the mediator will be writing a report that will include both the parents concern and demeanor that the court will be reading. In confidential counties, the court will only receive a report that mediation occurred, but no agreement was reached. Finally, in all counties (confidential or recommending counties) the mediator may recommend a custody investigation or other services, or appointment of counsel for the minor.

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