Divorce Mediation Program

Divorce Mediation FAQ


What is the requirement?

Beginning on May 2, 2005 any time an answer to a divorce complaint is filed which includes contested issues, the parties shall participate in good faith in at least one session of mediation.

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What does this mean?

The requirement means that, if after an answer is filed to a divorce complaint and there are issues in dispute, the parties shall participate in mediation to try to resolve the issues in dispute. Parties shall participate in at least one session of mediation, but will often continue to work with the mediator to resolve all of the issues in the divorce. If after one session, the parties do not feel the mediation is assisting them in the resolution of their issues, they may move forward in the court process.

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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process in which a third party facilitator works with both parties to have a meaningful discussion about the disputed issues and helps the parties to explore possible options for resolution. The mediator does not tell the parties how to solve the disputed issues, nor do they offer legal advice or their opinion about the issues. Instead, they bring the parties together (sometimes in the same room, sometimes in separate rooms) and help them to talk about the issues and possible solutions. The mediator works with the parties until the parties are able to come to a mutually agreeable solution or until it is clear no agreement can be reached. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will write up a non-binding memorandum of understanding which the parties use to draft a stipulation and order for the court. If no agreement is reached, the mediator will report the partie's participation to the court and they may move on to a trial on the issues.

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How do I find a mediator?

You must hire a mediator who has been qualified by the Utah State Courts to perform the mediation. A list of these mediators is available on the Utah State Court Website roster of mediators. On the website the mediators are arranged by county so you can find the mediators who offer service in your area. Information regarding the mediator's hourly fee, any travel costs, and a brief biography are also included to help you make your decision. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call the Divorce Mediation Help Line at 1-800-620-6318 (Statewide) or (801) 578-3966 (Salt Lake) and we can send you a list of qualified mediators in your county.

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Who pays the mediator?

The parties are responsible for identifying and paying a mediator to provide this service. Mediation costs are to be divided equally between the parties unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the court. If you feel you cannot afford to hire a mediator financial assistance is available. To request this assistance you must fill out a Divorce Mediation Income Survey.

This Income Survey is available on-line at http://www.utcourts.gov/mediation/divmed/forms.asp or you can request one by calling the Divorce Mediation Help Line at 1-800-620-6318 (Statewide) or (801) 578-3966 (Salt Lake).

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What is the time-line for mediation?

Parties should select and contact a mediator within 15 days of the contested answer being filed with the Court. The parties will then work with the mediator to decide when mediation sessions should begin but are asked to begin the process within 45 days. When using mediation to fully resolve all issues in a divorce, the parties typically will attend several mediation sessions. Parties will continue to work with a mediator as long as they feel the process is assisting them in resolving the issues in dispute.

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Can a case be excused from mediation?

Mediation is a process which requires all parties to feel safe and comfortable sharing their views. If a party in a divorce does not feel safe meeting with the other party or does not feel they can openly share their views, they may contact the Divorce Mediation Program Coordinator by calling the Divorce Mediation Help Line at 1-800-620-6318 (Statewide) or (801) 578-3966 (Salt Lake) to discuss their options. An application can be submitted in order to have the specifics of the case considered to be excused for good cause and is available online at www.utcourts.gov/mediation/divmed/forms.asp. In extreme cases, they may be excused from the requirement to participate in mediation.

In some cases one party may be living out of state or may be incarcerated. In these cases, parties are encouraged to contact a mediator to discuss the option of setting up mediation by phone. If a party feels their case is extreme, they may contact the Divorce Mediation Coordinator to discuss their options.

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What happens if I reach an agreement in mediation?

It is the hope of this program that you will be able to resolve your divorce using the mediation process. If you are able to resolve all or some of the issues, your mediator will provide you with a memorandum of understanding that outlines the agreements you have reached. It is then your responsibility to have these agreements written up in the form of a stipulation and order so they can be submitted to the court. In most cases, unless you understand the court requirements, parties will need the assistance of an attorney to draft the stipulation and order paperwork. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may want to investigate the legal aide resources in your community.

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What happens if I don't reach an agreement in mediation?

If you are unable to reach any agreement in the mediation process, the mediator will provide you with a mediation disposition notice so that your case can move forward in the court process. A copy of this notice will also be sent to the court.

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What if there is a protective order or a no contact order against either party?

If there is a protective order or any type of no contact order against either party in the case, this order must be modified to allow for the parties to meet in mediation. For information on modifying an existing order you can contact an attorney, legal aide or the court.

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For more information on mediation visit www.utcourts.gov/mediation/divmed or call the Divorce Mediation Help Line 1-800-620-6318 or 801-578-3966 (Salt lake City).

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Other Resources


Page Last Modified: 2/24/2009
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