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NCJ Number: 99280 Find in a Library
Title: Confidentiality - An Exploration of Issues
Journal: Mediation Quarterly  Issue:8  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:57-66
Author(s): H McIsaac
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After exploring issues pertaining to confidentiality in the mediation of child custody disputes, this paper explains the Los Angeles Superior Court confidentiality rule for court-connected family mediation services.
Abstract: Most mediators require confidentiality for mediation proceedings, and California provides confidentiality protection for the mandatory mediation of child custody disputes. Child custody disputes have several centers of interest that affect the notion of confidentiality: the best interest of the child, parental rights, and the state's interest as protector of its children. These interests are congruent when the best interest of the child is met and general agreement exists about how to meet these needs. The interests are in conflict when there is no agreement or when the best interest of the child is threatened by parental abuse or neglect. Confidentiality issues arise when court-mandated mediation has failed and the issue must be resolved by the court. In recognizing that confidentiality for mediation sessions must be ensured to protect the integrity and effectiveness of mediation, the Los Angeles Superior Court has adopted a local rule that prohibits court testimony by any mediation participant regarding information acquired in mediation sessions. Exceptions are provided for the observation of a crime, the mediator's responsibility to report child abuse, information about threats against persons, and facts about the mediation sessions that do not pertain to conversation contents. The mediator may also recommend to the trial court that a child custody evaluation be conducted or that an attorney be appointed for the child. These provisions protect the integrity of the mediation process and also protect the best interest of the child when the court must resolve the dispute. Eight references are listed.
Index Term(s): California; Child custody; Conciliation courts; Divorce mediation; Privileged communications
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