California Family Code Section 3188
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California Laws > Family Code > California Family Code Section 3188
3188. (a) Any court selected by the Judicial Council under
subdivision (c) may voluntarily adopt a confidential mediation
program that provides for all of the following:
(1) The mediator may not make a recommendation as to custody or
visitation to anyone other than the disputing parties, except as
otherwise provided in this section.
(2) If total or partial agreement is reached in mediation, the
mediator may report this fact to the court. If both parties consent
in writing, where there is a partial agreement, the mediator may
report to the court a description of the issues still in dispute,
without specific reference to either party.
(3) In making the recommendation described in Section 3184, the
mediator may not inform the court of the reasons why it would be in
the best interest of the minor child to have counsel appointed.
(4) If the parties have not reached agreement as a result of the
initial mediation, this section does not prohibit the court from
requiring subsequent mediation that may result in a recommendation as
to custody or visitation with the child if the subsequent mediation
is conducted by a different mediator with no prior involvement with
the case or knowledge of any communications, as defined in Section
1040 of the Evidence Code, with respect to the initial mediation. The
court, however, shall inform the parties that the mediator will make
a recommendation to the court regarding custody or visitation in the
event that the parties cannot reach agreement on these issues.
(5) If an initial screening or intake process indicates that the
case involves serious safety risks to the child, such as domestic
violence, sexual abuse, or serious substance abuse, the mediator may
provide an initial emergency assessment service that includes a
recommendation to the court concerning temporary custody or
visitation orders in order to expeditiously address those safety
(b) This section shall become operative upon the appropriation of
funds in the annual Budget Act sufficient to implement this section.
(c) This section shall apply only in four or more superior courts
selected by the Judicial Council that currently allow a mediator to
make custody recommendations to the court and have more than 1,000
family law case filings per year. The Judicial Council may also make
this section applicable to additional superior courts that have fewer
than 1,000 family law case filings per year.
Last modified: February 22, 2013