Mediation is a process in which a neutral, third-party assists the parents to create a parenting plan for their children. Mediation can be either confidential or non-confidential. I am skilled in providing either type of mediation.
The terms are confusing, so let me explain. When you go to court you are entering into a non-confidential mediation process. You have the choice to obtain mediation services from the Court's own mediators at Family Court Services. This is usually a two hour process.
Your other choice is to hire a private mediator who works independently of the Court and provides a more comprehensive process to reach an agreement regarding custody, visitation and parenting issues for your children. If the parents do not agree, the Court requires the mediator to submit recommendations to the Judge. There must be an "Order for Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC)" or in Sacramento County, an "Order For Private Mediation", endorsed by the Court prior to commencing mediation services.
In confidential mediation, if the parents do not agree, mediation ends without resolution. No recommendation is made to a judge. No report is written by the mediator.
A parenting plan may include a mission statement, a parenting schedule or calendar of time your child/ren will be in your care and custody, holiday schedule and vacation arrangements. Parenting plans are changeable by mutual agreement. The purpose of the plan is to create clear agreements in advance, to avoid conflicts that might otherwise develop later.
You will find links to AFCC Resources, a website that has a section regarding parenting plan information. My favorite is "Planning for Parenting Time: Arizona Guide for Parents Living Apart".
Go to the "Links" section on this website.