Domestic Relations

Referral of Cases
Mediation of Domestic Relations cases are coordinated through the Family Court Services (FCS) Department. Mediations are conducted by the FCS staff as well as the staff of the Joint Court Mediation Project. Parties may also request mediation by a private mediator.

In newly filed divorce cases, once the parents have completed the Parent Education Class offered through the Court, the parties are assigned to a mediator and are notified by mail to contact that mediator in order to schedule a mediation session. The Court also refers many post-decree parenting cases to mediation.

Parents may also initiate mediation apart from a court order before or after their final hearing. In these situations it is up to both parties to contact Family Court Services before an appointment will be scheduled.

Mediation Process
The parties begin the Mediation process after they have completed the Court Ordered New Beginning class. At that time each party will be asked to make an appointment to meet with the Mediator on an individual basis to discuss any questions or concerns about mediation. After both parties have attended the New Beginnings class and their initial mediation session, they will be asked to schedule an appointment for a joint mediation session.

During the mediation process, the parties are encouraged to relate the issues they believe to be important for consideration and to listen to information and contributions from the other party. Ideas relating to the future parenting of their children as well as proposals for settlement of other issues important to the family will be exchanged and evaluated by the participants together and in private meetings.

When an agreement has been reached, a memorandum of this agreement will be prepared and given to the parties for their review and review by their attorneys. This agreement may be filed with the Court if the parties wish to do so.

This memorandum is not a legal document until the Court and the parties sign it, therefore allowing the parties to alter their agreement before it becomes a legal document.