CA Family Law Mediation: Child Custody

Tierney Law Group

In the midst of a divorce or separation, nothing is more critical than the well-being of your children. It’s an emotionally charged time, and decisions about child custody can intensify those feelings. Fortunately, for families in California, there is an effective, less adversarial solution — child custody mediation. Through the help of Tierney Law Group’s reputable Livermore family law attorney, you can navigate this challenging process with confidence.

Child Custody Mediation Laws in CA

Child custody refers to the legal rights and responsibilities a parent has concerning their child. In California, family law promotes the welfare and best interests of the child, encouraging both parents to share these rights and responsibilities.

Child custody mediation is a court-ordered or voluntary process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps parents resolve disputes about child custody and visitation rights. The mediator’s role is not to make decisions but to facilitate conversation and encourage compromise.

The California Family Code Section 3170 mandates mediation in any contested matter involving child custody or visitation rights. This requirement underscores the state’s commitment to a less adversarial and more collaborative approach to resolving these critical issues.

What Does Child Custody Cover?

Child custody encompasses two main facets: legal custody and physical custody. Both aspects are crucial in defining the responsibilities and rights of parents, and a detailed parenting plan will account for both.


This pertains to the parent’s right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare. These decisions can involve a wide range of issues, such as education (including which school the child will attend), health care (including medical treatments and procedures), religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities.


Physical custody relates to where the child will reside. Joint physical custody implies that the child spends significant time with each parent, while sole physical custody means the child lives primarily with one parent, although the other parent may still have visitation rights.

In addition to these, a child custody agreement can also detail other aspects such as:

  • Visitation Rights: These define the non-custodial parent’s schedule for spending time with the child. Visitation rights are generally outlined in a manner that maintains the child’s sense of stability and continuity.
  • Holiday and Vacation Schedules: Most custody agreements specify how holidays, birthdays, and vacations will be divided between parents. This helps prevent future disputes and ensures that the child can spend quality time with both parents.
  • Provisions for Changes: Circumstances change, and custody agreements should include a process for how potential modifications to the agreement will be handled.

Remember, the core principle behind determining custody arrangements is the child’s best interests. Factors considered may include the child’s age, health, emotional ties to each parent, and the ability of each parent to provide a stable, loving environment.

What Happens in Child Custody Mediation?

In child custody mediation, parents meet with a trained mediator to discuss and resolve their issues. The mediator guides the conversation, ensuring it remains productive and respectful. Their role includes helping parents understand the needs of their children, fostering mutual understanding, and assisting parents in crafting detailed child custody.

The process of mediation is confidential, with discussions and proposals made in mediation not being shared with the court. However, the agreed-upon child custody will become a court order once approved by a judge.

Choose What’s Best for Your Child Through Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation can be complex and emotionally challenging. Yet, with the guidance of seasoned Livermore family law attorneys, such as Tierney Law Group, the journey can be less daunting. Our experienced team is committed to providing comprehensive support during this critical time, working with you to safeguard your child’s best interest and parental rights.

Choosing mediation for child custody is a step towards a collaborative resolution. Take the next step with Tierney Law Group today. Contact us for a consultation and see how we can support your path towards a better future for your family.

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