Alameda County family court child custody mediator

If you’ve attended a session with your (ex) spouse during your divorce, would you pls share your experience and any overall advice how to prepare and conduct oneself ?  We’ve a session early next week with Melinda Morris. I’d be so grateful for any insights. Didn’t see any recent posts. 

Specifically, how do I best get the mediator to support an ADHD evaluation for my 9 yo despite my ex’s strong objection to consent?  This is despite recommendation by child’s psychologist (last Fall), pediatrician and teachers. I have all this in writing from above ready to share. Both child psychologist and I suspect my child has a mild form given challenges with impulse control and some executive functions. I’d like to know and support my bright child with ways to deal with any learning differences to fulfill potential — teachers consistently describe as “bright, creative thinker, strong leadership skills” yet needs more reminders than classmates on impulse control and organizing work. No academic impairment now yet I’m concerned for future demands of middle school and complexity of work.  My ex is a narcissist; hence the divorce. His reasons for withholding consent: He doesn’t trust me with the results of the evaluation, accuses that I “would use it against” our child and wants me to “promise you won’t tell our child.”  Suspect all this triggering his insecurity and shame around own (non- ADHD) learning difference. I’m empathetic yet this is not about him, but what’s best for our child. I understand the court can order this, yet I wish to settle our divorce out of court and not escalate already growing animosity between us. 

Thank you for advice if you’ve been thru a session, especially if you’re open to my contact before my appt early next week. 

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I have vast experience I from my own custody case and from helping many friends over the past twenty years prepare for their mediations and court based on my and their experiences. I’d be happy to speak with you. Every mediator is different. Some will take charge and bulldoze you, others seem to just take in the info from both sides and then make a recommendation report based on that. Whatever the two of you don’t agree upon in mediation goes before the judge, so know that you don’t have to agree to anything “in” mediation, but also know that how you conduct yourself can effect how the mediator judges you and influences their recommendation, which the judge generally will abide by because the judge didn’t spend an hour with you and relies on the mediator to know your case more intimately. Anything you physically bring to mediation should be things that were already filed in court, and if not, bring copies for your ex too. The mediator shouldn’t accept anything from you that the ex hasn’t also seen. Be sure the mediator has actually read the case file before beginning (ask this up front, you’d be surprised how many mediators take a moment right then and there to speed read because they haven’t). Don’t interrupt, allow the mediator to run the session and ask permission to speak, be super polite, etc. Practice before heading into mediation by acting out the session with a friend, and being ready to easily counteract your ex’s arguments. Insert the words “best interest of the child” where possible, as this is paramount, or supposed to be, when deciding custody matters. Happy to help further if you’d like to get in touch. 

I went through child custody mediation. I recommend being prepared not to react emotionally to your ex's lies, personal attacks or accusations during the session, and firmly resist getting dragged into unproductive arguments that are just going to erode your credibility. Meditation and visualization exercises help. Keep calm and keep steering the focus back to your child's best interests. I.e., this is not about you or your ex, it's about best supporting your child's educational and developmental needs. It sounds like you have plenty of documented support from experts.


I did Alameda County Family Court Custody Mediation. I was working with a lawyer and she prepped me about what to say and share. It was painful on many levels but required. These Mediators are trained professionals who want the best for out kids AND they are spread so thin with unbelievable workloads. There was lots of he said she said, of course. If you have reports from teachers and psychologists then that is hugely on your side. Bring documents! They help a lot. I had the same issue - ex denying our kiddo’s ADHD, Trauma, anxiety. The document stated what we both said then recommendations were made. Although my lawyer was pleased, I felt the report was rushed and didn’t quite get the full picture.  Full of typos and some incorrect facts. 
I have been able to pursue the help my kiddo needed. 
I wish you the best in your process! Peace!