In various areas of family law, mediation is used as an alternative to having the judge decide the issue(s).
Mediation can be court ordered; therefore, you must attend. Any child custody or child visitation case, whether through a post decree modification, parentage issue or divorce action, the court will order parties to attend mediation unless they come to an agreement on their own. In certain cases where domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness or child abuse occur, a judge may keep the parties out of mediation. If the parties involved cannot be “near” one another, such as if one party has an order of protection against the other, mediation would not be an option.
The purpose of mediation, court ordered or voluntary, is to help parents come to a resolution and establish parenting responsibilities without incurring litigation costs. Mediation is an open forum for each party to express their concerns to a neutral, third-party, certified mediator.