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Domestic Relations Mediation
Mediation is a traditional “problem-solving” process conducted by trained, experienced mediators who may, but are not required to be, attorneys.
This facilitative process focuses on clarifying positions and identifying the interests and needs of the parties. Mediation is available for domestic cases involving child custody, support, and/or visitation issues. Mediation is a confidential process. All communications, verbal or written, from the parties to the mediator cannot be used in a court hearing.
How The Program Works
- The parties or the Court may request mediation in any case involving child custody, support, visitation, and/or property issues. You may request mediation by using the Request for Mediation form or file a Motion to request mediation.
- If both parties, or the parties attorney agree, or are referred by the court to mediation, an Order and Notice of Mediation will be filed. The Court, the parties, or their attorney may select a mediator.
- Each party may be required to pay a fee directly to the Clerk’s office, as determined by the Judge. The fee may be waived at the discretion of the Court.
- The parties shall participate up to a maximum of three (3) hours of mediation.
- Cost of mediation will be determined by the Judge or mediator.
- Upon completion of the mediation, the mediator will submit a final report to the court, indicating if an agreement was reached and any unresolved issues. After mediation is complete, either party can request a hearing on unresolved issues. If all issues are resolved, the parties or their attorney are responsible for seeking a final order or decree from the court.
Mediation is a process that allows the participants to make their own decisions about their case by allowing them to explore options and create more flexibility in their agreements. The court can only do what the law allows. Most parties are happier when they make the agreements themselves. Through mediation you can also avoid high cost of courtroom battles and the emotional stress that comes with it. Finally, all the parties are more likely to comply with the agreements they come up with rather than the decisions made for you by the court.
Mediation aids in helping parties participate in solving problems that they previously have been unable to resolve. With the assistance of trained mediators, parties will meet together in an informal setting to work at reaching an agreement. The role of the mediator is to help the parties communicate more clearly and to work cooperatively together.
Parties are encouraged to put the past behind them and focus on their future needs, and if children are involved, their children’s needs and interests in an open and positive way.
Mediations are always confidential and no information from the sessions will be shared, except the agreement and outcome of the mediation session.
Mediation allows parties an opportunity in making their own decisions rather than leaving it up to the judge. The mediator is there to help the parties listen and understand each other. What is accomplished during mediation, however, is up to you and the other party involved in your case. For mediation to be successful, it is very important that you try, and participate in the mediation. If you have any questions or concerns about the mediation process please discuss them with your mediator before the session begins.
Preparing For Mediation
- Bring your completed questionnaire (if applicable).
- Come with an open mind & be willing to make compromises.
- Be willing to listen.
- Try not to interrupt.
- Make a list of all areas of agreement.
- Make a list of all issues still in dispute.
- Bring all supporting documentation that will assist you in discussing the issues.
- Bring your ideas for resolving all issues in dispute.
What Happens After Mediation?
If an agreement is reached, a written agreement is prepared. The parties will review and sign the agreement and, if necessary, discuss it with their attorney. If the agreement is approved by the court, it will be made into a court order and the parties will have to abide by their agreements. In the event that the parties are unable to reach an agreement; the judge may be notified of the issues that remain in dispute and the parties may need a contested trial or the parties may be asked to attend an additional mediation session.