Most judges require the parties to attend mediation prior to any temporary orders hearing involving a custody dispute.   Almost every judge require mediation prior to final trial.  

 

Mediation is a method of dispute resolution.  The mediator is a neutral third-party who does not represent either party.  Anything said during mediation is confidential.   Neither the parties nor the mediator can testify about what happened at mediation or what was said during mediation.  Mediation can be a very effective way of settling a case in its entirety or at least whittling down the issues for trial.   Mediation is often preferred because the parties can reach agreements on matters that the judge would not typically order, such as a 50/50 possession schedule or no child support order.   The parties have more leeway in mediation to structure an agreement that best fits their family and needs.  The parties are in control of the outcome at mediation, rather than a judge or jury.   

 

At mediation, each party will be in a separate room. Generally, only the parties and their respective attorneys are allowed to attend mediation.  

 

If an agreement is reached at mediation then it is binding and irrevocable, absent very narrow exceptions (e.g., spousal abuse).    

 

 

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