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One of the benefits of divorce mediation is that it is confidential, keeping your private family issues private. Where issues brought to court are recorded and available, everything said and worked on in mediation is protected and confidential. The California Evidence Code as well as a number of court cases ensure that mediation lets you keep your privacy.
When you go to court, the information you present and the things that you say are stored in the courthouse for years to come. Your children could go to the court and find out everything that was said during a contentious divorce; your personal issues are on the record in court. California Evidence Code Section 1119(c) states, “All communications, negotiations, or settlement discussions by and between participants in the course of a mediation or a mediation consultation shall remain confidential.” Sections 1119(a) and (b) cover things said and writings made during the course of mediation, stating that they cannot be used in court cases. Plainly speaking, what happens in mediation stays there and cannot later be used against you in court.
Evidence Code sections 1120, 1121, 1122, 1123, and 1124 cover what CAN be used in court from mediation. What can be used in court is the fact that a mediator was contacted, a binding and enforceable agreement, and anything that all parties agree are admissible and not covered by confidentiality. Confidentiality covers everything until the end of mediation, according to Evidence Code section 1125, which sets out how mediations can be ended either with or without an agreement. Section 1126 states that anything that was confidential during mediation is also confidential after mediation ends. As far as information about what happened in the process of mediation, that information is controlled by the people involved to disclose or keep private. Mediation allows you to have your conflicts in private, rather than dragging them through public in court.