Evidence Code section 1115 - "What Constitutes Mediation"

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CALIFORNIA EVIDENCE CODE

MEDIATION DEFINITIONS

Evidence Code Section 1115

For purposes of this chapter:
(a) "Mediation" means a process in which a neutral person or persons facilitate communication between the disputants to assist them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
(b) "Mediator" means a neutral person who conducts a mediation.
"Mediator" includes any person designated by a mediator either to assist in the mediation or to communicate with the participants in preparation for a mediation.
(c) "Mediation consultation" means a communication between a person and a mediator for the purpose of initiating, considering, or reconvening a mediation or retaining the mediator.
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MEDIATION TIP: As you can see, there are no specific licensing or other requirements for holding oneself out and acting as a divorce or family law mediator in California. It is not uncommon to see people with paralegal, mental health, religious and forensic accounting training act as such "neutrals". As a practical matter, unless the mediation solely involves child custody and visitation issues, mediating the property and support aspects of a divorce or family law case together with a lawyer-mediator may be your safest course.

Also, this section contemplates co-mediators in its definition, which means that the privileges in Family Code sections 1118 through 1128 apply to such persons. If you are a mediator, it is a good idea include co-mediators or other neutrals who are used in the mediation process within your mediation agreements, as certain immunities from malpractice claims and suit can be achieved that extend to them as well. Here is a sample mediation agreement I use in my Palm Springs mediation practice through DFMS - you are welcome to adopt it to your own specifications.


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