By statute, all disputes related to legal custody and physical placement of children must be referred for mediation to Family Court Services. The court may waive the requirement to attend mediation if there is an undue hardship or the health and safety of a parent would be at risk. The mediators are specially trained to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that is in the best interest of the family. Family Court Services Mediators do not mediate issues relating to property division, maintenance, child support, or other financial matters.
Participation may be ordered in three ways:
Once an order is drafted and signed by the judge or commissioner, the parties receive in the mail a copy of the order along with further instructions.
NUMBER OF SESSIONS
The parties may continue in mediation until all parties agree that a final resolution is reached or until a party, the mediator, or the court believes mediation is no longer productive.
See the Fees section for a complete list of FCS fees. The court generally determines which party will pay which portion of the fee, either before payment is made or at a later hearing. If not ordered by the court, each party is generally required to pay half the fee in pending divorce/legal separation actions. In all other actions, the requesting party is generally required to pay.
Below you will find the Instructions and all the forms you will need to get from the beginning to the end of this court process. You have the option to:
Please keep in mind that not all forms are due at the same time. Review the Instructions (we recommend that you print it and keep it with your papers) to determine in what order to complete each form and other tasks required.
Hint: ONLY COMPLETE THE TASKS IN THE ORDER THEY ARE LISTED-Read ahead, but do not work ahead.