Civil law includes statutes and "case law" that define or interpret individuals' and organizations' private rights in their relationships and disputes that involve property, contracts, personal injury, family relationships, tax, or government rules and regulations.
What is mediation in family law cases?
Mediation is a process that gives people who have a disagreement over issues in a family law case help in reaching an agreement by a neutral person trained in problem solving. Each Oregon county is required to provide some form of mediation service in family law cases.
Who is a mediator in family law cases?
Most mediators in family law cases are trained as licensed social workers, psychologists, and other mental health professionals. Lawyers who are trained in or practice family law also may provide family law mediation.
What kind of family law cases are mediated?
Any type of family law case may be mediated. If there is a disagreement over custody of minor children, parenting time with minor children, child or spousal support, or allocation of debt and distribution of property, the parties may, with or without their lawyers, call a mediator to help them resolve their disputes. Mediation is available whether or not the parents of the minor child were married, and is available to resolve disputes over grandparent visitation. The courts encourage mediation of disputes in family law cases because the court process often fails to adequately resolve the issues.
What is the cost of family law mediation?
The cost of mediation in family law cases varies from county to county and from case to case. Some counties provide mediation services at no cost through their county’s department of family services, as long as the case is filed in that county. Other counties provide mediation services, but the parties must pay a fee in addition to their filing fee to meet with a mediator who has a contract with the county to provide mediation services. Those fees vary from $25 to $50 per hour.
What is the procedure in family law mediation?
In some counties, as soon as a petition is filed, the parent filing the petition must tell the court that there is a controversy over custody or parenting time with a minor child. The parents are required to attend a mediation orientation session and meet with a mediator to try to resolve those disputes. In other counties, the court requires the parties to attend mediation when one or more parties ask the court to hold a hearing on custody or parenting time. And in some counties, there is no mandatory requirement of mediation, but the court maintains a list of private mediators who will, upon request, assist parents in resolving custody and parenting time disputes.
Even if there are no children, many counties have a number of private mediators, typically lawyers who will assist parties in family law cases to resolve their disputes. This includes divorces and other types of family separations.
Each party is encouraged to give information to the mediator before the mediation session to help the mediator resolve the dispute. Lawyers for the parties are usually not encouraged to attend the mediation if the sessions are to resolve custody and parenting time disputes, but lawyers may attend the mediation sessions if the issues are financial, including property, debts and support. A mediator may first meet with both parties (and their lawyers), and then meet with each side confidentially, going back and forth between the parties until an agreement is reached.
What happens at the end of family law mediation?
If the parties in mediation of custody and parenting time reach an agreement, the mediator will usually draw up an agreement that the parties sign. The agreement may be presented to the court for its approval. If the mediation involved financial and support issues, the mediator may draw up a memorandum of agreement, and then the parties take the memorandum to their lawyer, who completes the papers required for court approval.
If the dispute is not settled in mediation, then the case proceeds to trial before a judge. Anything that was said in the mediation is confidential, and the court decides the issues. Therefore, the court may decide custody, support and financial issues without knowing what the parties’ positions were during mediation.
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