Young father holding his son’s hand while walking in the grass

Off The Record Mediation Services guides parents through the child custody mediation process, with a particular focus on mediating child custody disputes in the greater Bay Area. If you are facing a dispute over custody and visitation issues, our skilled mediator can help to find a solution that works for everyone. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Off The Record Mediation Services assists parents with child custody mediation in Central California, saving our clients millions of dollars compared to litigation costs. 

Our founder, Dorit L. Goikhman (Dori), has specialized training in child custody mediation and extensive experience resolving the most challenging custody issues. We all want what’s best for our children, and mediation is the best way to make that happen. Contact our office today by calling 866-223-4153 or by booking a session, and get started with an experienced child custody mediator.

About Child Custody Mediation in California

Child custody mediation is a process in which parents work with a neutral third-party mediator to create a parenting plan for their children after a divorce or separation. Mediation is mandatory in California for all custody and visitation disputes, except in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse.

Parents seeking child custody mediation in Central California face particular issues, including high costs of living and navigating the day-to-day realities of raising children in the Bay Area. Dorit Goikhman is particularly experienced with assisting Bay Area parents with issues like the high cost and fast pace of living in the Bay Area. Dorit Goikhman has experience working with diverse families throughout California, customizing plans that fit their particular lifestyles. 

The goal is to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children involved. The mediator helps the parents communicate effectively and find common ground. As a mediator, Dorit L Goikhman does not make decisions for the parents but rather helps them reach a mutual agreement.

Ms. Goikhman is an experienced family law attorney, specifically trained in mediation and knowledgeable in family law and child development. Dorit remains neutral and does not take sides or offer legal advice. Instead, she facilitates the communications and negotiations between the parents.

Mediation is a confidential process. What either parent says during mediation cannot be used in court, with certain exceptions. This allows the parents to be open and honest about their concerns and needs without fear of recrimination.

If the parents reach an agreement, Dorit will create a written parenting plan, outlining the custody and visitation schedule as well as any other issues related to the children, such as education or healthcare. The customized parenting plan can be submitted to the court as part of a court order. 

If the parents cannot reach an agreement through mediation, the child custody case will go to court, and a judge will make determinations about custody and visitation based on the child’s best interests.

Why You Need a Child Custody Mediator

A child custody mediator can be very helpful in situations where parents are unable to agree and struggling to communicate effectively. A child custody mediator can also be helpful when the parties generally agree but need assistance writing down or otherwise guiding their agreement. Reasons you might need a child custody mediator include: 

  • You are divorcing or separating and cannot agree on custody arrangements for your children
  • You are already divorced or separated but are having ongoing disputes over custody and visitation
  • You and the other parent have different ideas about what is best for your children and cannot find common ground
  • Your children are struggling with the family transition, and you need help creating a stable and supportive custody arrangement
  • You want to avoid going to court and would prefer to work with the other parent to come to an agreement

Mediation is often required before a child custody case can go to court: the courts believe it is in the best interest of the children for parents to resolve their differences without court intervention whenever possible. Our capable mediator helps parents find agreements that work for everyone involved, save time and money, and avoid the emotional stress of a protracted legal battle. 

How Does Child Custody Mediation Work?

The goal of the mediation process is to create a parenting plan that meets the needs of the children and is in their best interests. The following is an overview of the child custody mediation process in California:

Mediation Sessions

The mediator schedules one or more mediation sessions, during which the parents will discuss their concerns and work together to create a parenting plan. As a child custody mediator, Dorit assists parents in identifying issues and options for resolving them.


If the parents reach an agreement during mediation, Dorit will prepare a written agreement, outlining the parenting plan, including custody and visitation schedules. Dorit can also assist the parties in creating a parenting calendar, including a calendar for visitation and holidays. 

In certain cases, a mediated agreement may be filed with the court. If this is the case, a judge will review it; if approved, the agreement will become a court order. If the parents cannot reach an agreement during mediation, they will need to appeal to the court to make custody decisions. This is why child custody mediation is a much more affordable and efficient method of making child custody determinations throughout California. 

Why Off The Record Mediation Services?

Dorit L. Goikhman is a highly regarded child custody mediator who guides parents through their most personal and difficult challenges. Above all, Dorit works to: 

  • Help parties communicate effectively – Dorit helps parents voice their concerns and priorities regarding child custody and visitation arrangements clearly and respectfully.
  • Facilitate the negotiation process – She guides parents through the negotiation process, helping them to identify common ground and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
  • Provide information – Dorit provides her clients with information about the legal and practical aspects of child custody and visitation arrangements but does not offer legal advice.

Trust Off The Record Mediation Services to help you resolve custody disputes privately and efficiently and minimize the stress and conflict often associated with custody disputes.

Service Areas

Off The Record Mediation Services, LLC helps customers throughout the Central California and San Francisco Bay area, including:

  • San Mateo County
  • Orange County
  • Santa Clara County
  • Marin County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Alameda County
  • Solano County
  • Napa County
  • Sonoma County
  • San Francisco
  • Oakland
  • San Jose
  • Fremont
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Rosa
  • Stockton
  • Sacramento
  • Modesto
  • Mountain View
  • Palo Alto
  • Berkeley
  • Monterey
  • and more…

Contact Our Custody Mediator Today

Resolving child custody issues in a divorce or separation can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you work with a compassionate child custody mediator. Dorit Goikhman Esq. understands the particular challenges faced by her clients in the greater Bay Area. Dorit can assist California parents with their child custody dispute with attention, experience, and compassion. To schedule a free 30-minute child custody mediation consultation, call our office at 866-223-4153 or schedule a free consultation online today.