Private Mediation for Custody & Parenting Issues
Mediation is a process parents use to help resolve conflict when they have been unable to
reach an agreement. The mediator identifies mutual interests and goals of both parents. An
additional goal of mediation is to help clients learn the skills necessary to continue to use
positive communication techniques in their future parenting conversations with each other.
Mediation can help to resolve disputes. Mediation is also a helpful format to work toward
resolution of timeshare plans. Working with a trained mental health professional helps parents
understand and focus on their children's needs related to their development. Mental health
professionals have particular expertise in understanding these issues as well as childrens needs
during parental separation and divorce.
Any agreements parents make in mediation often are written up with copies given to each parent.
The purpose of written agreements is for parents to review and have a record of agreements that
have been made in mediation. Written agreements are not court orders, but are often used as a
basis for a court order by parents formalizing agreements with the help of their attorneys or
through other legal processes.
Private mediation is a confidential process unless the parties use a private mediator as a result
of a court order (Stipulation and Order appointing a private mediator, Sonoma County Rule
9.4.I.5). In these cases, the mediator is able to make recommendations to the court in cases
where the parents do not reach agreement on all or some of the issues.