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 unmet needs of the parties, often with the goal is to preserve the relationship as well as resolve the case.
The Domestic Matters Mediation Program is available throughout the 13th Judicial District for cases involving child custody, support, visitation and/or property issues. These cases are mediated by experienced mediators appointed by the Court. Mediation is a confidential process. All communications, verbal or written, from the parties to the mediator cannot be used in a court hearing. In cases involving disputes over child custody or visitation, parents meet with the mediator to develop a parenting plan that both meets their individual needs and is in the best interest of their child(ren). The mediator may ask the parties to fill out a Mediation Questionnaire prior to the first mediation session. They may also suggest the parties review co-parenting guidelines to help with the development of a parenting plan.
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.
- If both parties agree, or by court referral, an Order of Referral for Mediation must be filed. The Court or the parties may select a mediator from a court-maintained list, or, the parties may request any qualified person as a mediator.
- Each party must pay fifty dollars ($50.00) directly to the Clerk’s office. Each party is required to get a receipt from the Clerk that the $50.00 was paid. Mediation will not begin until the entire one hundred dollars ($100.00) is received by the Clerk. The fee may be waived at the discretion of the Court.
- The parties must contact the mediator within ten (10) days after the Order of Referral for Mediation is filed.
- The parties will be responsible for providing a copy of the receipt of the required court fee to the mediator before the mediation may begin.
- The mediators will be paid by the court for up to eight (8) hours of mediation. The parties must ask the court for additional time, if needed.
- 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 are responsible for seeking a final order or decree from the court.