If there are custody, parenting time, placement, or other issues involving your children, you are often expected to mediate them before returning to court.
In Wisconsin, either party may request a mediation referral and in doing so the county will pay for all but the $100, which is shared amongst the parties. Some counties require the requesting party to provide the $100 upon request and then collect the $50 reimbursement from the other party at the mediation.
In Minnesota, there is a statutory requirement that the parties attempt alternative dispute resolution (ADR) prior to litigating their issues. If they already have a custody and parenting time court order, there is a good chance it includes a mediation requirement.
Attorneys are sometimes present at mediation, though generally not so in Wisconsin mediations. You always have the right to consult with an attorney prior to mediation to get comfortable with the law, understand the mediation process, and best position yourself to realize the results you want from mediation.
So how does a parent start mediation?
- First of all, try self help. It is expected that you two will have already been talking about it, fleshed out the issue(s), discussed creative solutions, and still be unresolved.
- Next, check your court order, if you have one. If so, it may tell you the method and/or who you have to mediate with. Hence some of the steps below may be irrelevant or overruled by the court order.
- Then, you need to identify prospective mediators. You can do this by contacting the Family Division of the Court Administration/Clerk for the county that pertains to you, be it the one that issued the order and if none the one where the child(ren) live. If it’s a Wisconsin case, they may issue the mediation referral. In Minnesota, they will have a list of mediators they can send/email/fax to you.
- Fourth, send a letter or email (note I did not state text or a phone call) to the other parent telling them that you wish to go to mediation to address the dispute you two have. Give them the list of mediators. If it’s a Wisconsin case, this step is irrelevant.
From there you two will need to agree to a mediator. Perhaps that will be decided based on location convenience, availability, cost, or reviews online. If you two cannot agree on a mediator, you’ll need to move forward with contacting an attorney.
Once you have a mediator agreed to, you’ll need to contact them. Follow their directions as it relates to scheduling and preparing for mediation.
If mediation is unsuccessful, it is time again to call Atticus Family Law, S. C. to discuss your options and implement a strategy to resolve the issues.