Mandatory Mediation for Newly Filed Divorce and Paternity Actions
Douglas County Local Court Rule 11(A)(8) provides parties to a contested case involving issues of child custody, parenting schedules and/or parenting rights must attempt to settle the issues through mediation prior to setting the case for final hearing. The court will not set a divorce, annulment, separate maintenance action or post-paternity proceeding involving minor children of the relationship for final hearing until the parents have complied with this rule. The court may waive this requirement for good cause.
The parties may elect to choose either (1) a mutually agreed upon specific private mediator, or (2) a mediator from Douglas County Domestic Mediation Services can be assigned.
The cost of services through Douglas County Domestic Mediation Services is based upon a sliding scale, and each parent pays independently according to their individual income as reflected on a recent pay stub or last child support worksheet filed with the court. This payment schedule stands regardless of prior court orders to equally share costs. Services are paid for prior to the mediation sessions. The mediator meets with each parent individually for one hour, then meets with both parents together for several hours. Additional sessions can be scheduled if needed. More information can be obtained by clicking on the brochure link listed at the bottom of the page.
If the parties choose to use Douglas County Domestic Mediation Services, the court will direct them to the Office of the District Court Trustee to be assigned a mediator. The parties cannot choose a specific mediator as the mediators are assigned on a rotating basis. The Office of the District Court Trustee assigns the mediator and has no other role regarding mediation. Each parent must contact their assigned mediator within 3 days of the court's order.
Pro se parties must prepare an Order for Mediation for the court's signature. If both parties are represented by counsel, the court will direct one of the attorneys to prepare the Order for Mediation.