Mediation is a process in which a trained mediator works with disputed parties to help them develop an agreement on the contended issues in their case. In this role, the mediator encourages and facilitates resolution of disputed issues by fostering joint problem solving, consensus building among parties, and exploration of alternative settlements. This allows parties to develop their own agreement, rather than having the judge decide the issues. Mediation can result in a more expedient resolution to the case, reduced costs, and more acceptable results for both parties. All information and communications during mediation are confidential (except as provided by law), and will not be provided to the court. The Mediated Agreement or an Impasse (when an agreement cannot be reached) will be provided to the court, along with copies to the parties. The Court’s Mediation Services Program provides Supreme Court certified mediators for county civil cases (primarily small claims), family law cases, and dependency cases.
Small Claims/County Civil: Several counties have a small claims pre-trial mediation program. At the pre-trial conference, all contested cases are offered an opportunity to attend mediation with a volunteer certified county civil case mediator - at no cost to the parties. A mediator is assigned to each case and takes the parties to a private room to conduct the mediation. If the parties do not come to an agreement through the mediation process, they will return to the court for further court hearings or other action.
Family Mediation: Family mediation is encouraged for all family cases with disputes surrounding asset and debt distribution; and all issues relating to child caring, time sharing, support, and/or any other matters regarding the care, safety and stability of children. Most often these are cases involving dissolution of marriage or modification of an existing dissolution of marriage order, when parties feel a need to change the conditions of the original order. There is a joint income cap on eligibility for Family Court Mediation Services and referrals are made only by order of the court. The Order of Referral to Family Mediation, list of Family Mediations for each county, and a brochure are located in the Family Division of our website.
Dependency Mediation: Mediation of dependency court cases brings together a Certified Dependency Mediator, the Department of Children and Families, Guardian Ad Litem Program, Attorneys and other parties, as needed, to develop a workable case plan for children and families in the dependency court system. Dependency Mediation is ordered by a juvenile court judge during court. An Investigator or Case Worker with the Department of Children and Families can provide more information about mediation of dependency court cases.