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Family Mediation

Family Mediation Office Information

Family Court Services
Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino
100 North State Street, Room 212
Ukiah, CA   95482

Phone: (707)463-4484, option 1

What Is Family Mediation?

Mediation is required by law in all custody and visitation disputes.  Family Court mediation is an opportunity for parents to resolve custody and visitation issues with the help of a trained mediator.  Family mediation does not include financial or property issues.  When mediation leads to an agreed upon Parenting Plan, that plan becomes an order of the Court and is enforceable as such.  When parents are unable to resolve their custody and visitation disputes through mediation, a hearing is set and the matter is decided by a judge. In Mendocino County, Family Court mediation is confidential.  When parents do not agree upon a Parenting Plan in mediation, mediators do not make recommendations or write reports about the family to the Family Court.

Who Participates in Family Mediation?

Mediations may be conducted remotely over Zoom, by telephone, or in person.   Only the parents are present at and participate in the mediation process. Grandparents, new spouses, children, or any other interested parties do not participate in the mediation process.  Attorneys may have contact with the mediators but they are not present at and do not participate in the mediation process.

How Is Family Mediation Conducted?

Mediation begins with an orientation presentation by the mediator. At every mediation session, parties will meet individually with the mediator first.  Parents then meet together in mediation, except in some domestic violence cases.

How Is Family Mediation Conducted in Domestic Violence Cases?

Parties have the opportunity to alert the Mediator prior to mediation if have safety concerns and arrange for separate in person mediations, or “remote” mediation by phone or zoom.

The parent who is protected by a restraining order has the right to be accompanied to family mediation by a support person.

Who Is Eligible for Family Mediation Services?

Child custody and visitation mediation is required in all cases that have current custody and visitation issues pending in Family Court.  Family Mediation is also required when domestic violence restraining orders are granted and parents have requested custody and visitation orders in their restraining order application.  Family Mediation referrals are made directly from Family Court.   If parents have an open family law case, they may voluntarily participate in mediation by contacting the Mediator and requesting an appointment.

How Long Does Family Mediation Take?

Mediation is one session which generally lasts for 1-2 hours.  Parents may be referred to their mediation session directly after court or later that day.  Parents should plan for work and childcare accordingly.  In some cases, mediation may happen on a different day and the Mediator will work with the parties to find a suitable mediation date. 

When and Where Does Family Mediation Take Place?

Family Mediation for Ukiah cases may be conducted in person or remotely.  All Ten Mile mediations and all Spanish mediations are conducted remotely. 

How Much Does Family Mediation Cost?

There are no fees for Family Mediation.  

Are There Other Requirements for Those Who Have Custody or Visitation Disputes?

Yes.  Court Local Rule 4.9(b) requires that all parents of minor children with cases pending in Family Court attend a parenting apart workshop.  These workshops educate parents about parent communication, conflict resolution, the needs of children when their parents do not live together, as well as other topics related to parenting apart.  The court preferred workshop is offered through the Triple P, Positive Parenting Program.  A certificate of completion will be submitted to the court upon completion of the workshop.  The workshop is offered in Ukiah in English and Spanish, and in Fort Bragg and Willits in English.  The workshop is funded by the Mendocino County Health and Human Services department and First 5 Mendocino and is free for parents involved in Family Court proceedings.  Contact Triple P at (707)234-3300 to register.  Information about two other online courses which satisfy the workshop requirement are available through the Family Mediation office or click below. 

Co-parent Workshop List (English)

Co-parent Workshop List (Spanish)

Spanish Speaking Parents in Family Court

When parents need the assistance of an interpreter in Family Court and/or Family Mediation, they should submit the Request for Interpreter form number MMC-110 AND inform the court clerk when they submit their documents for filing.  Spanish language interpreters are available in Family Court and for family mediation on Tuesdays.

MMC-110 - Request for Interpreter

Directions/Intake forms for Mediation

English Forms
Spanish Forms

Client Complaints

Family Court Services staff are committed to helping you make the best decisions regarding your children, family members, and adults in your care. We hope you are satisfied with the services you receive. In the event you are not, please complete the Client Complaint Form below and submit to the Court Executive Officer.

Family Court Services Client Complaint Form and Instruction Sheet

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