What is mediation?
During mediation married or unmarried parents talk together with a trained mediator in order to reach a custody or parenting plan agreement that both parents feel will be in the best interest of their children. The mediator will not impose an agreement on the parents, but will work toward helping the parents to find the best possible plan for sharing their children.
Who is eligible?
Any parents who have a dispute regarding custody or sharing time with their children. This includes parents who have never been married and parents who have already been divorced, as well as parents who are in the process of divorce. Grandparents and step-parents may request mediation if they meet one of the following conditions: 1) they are part of the case because of filing as intervenors, or, 2) they have filed their own petition.
How much does it cost?
At this time there is no charge for mediation services.
Am I required to attend?
Yes. Parents who cannot agree about custody or a parenting plan must first attempt to resolve their differences through mediation before their dispute can be heard by the court. Parents may choose to use a private mediator at their own expense.
How does the Mediation Program operate?
All sessions are confidential. The mediator cannot be required to testify in court about what happens in mediation.
If the parents reach a written agreement, copies will be sent to them and their attorneys to be reviewed.
If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the mediator will notify the court and the attorneys that no agreement was reached.
What are the advantages of mediation?
The process of solving family problems in court can be very expensive, and is likely to intensify the angry feelings parents have toward each other. Custody battles put tremendous pressure on the children. In mediation the parents have an opportunity to resolve their differences, and can learn to cooperate for the sake of their children. Many attorneys have found that mediation improves the ability of couples to work successfully toward settlements of financial and property issues.
What are the disadvantages of mediation?
Mediation is not appropriate in cases where there has been a significant imbalance of power between the parents. For example where there is a recent history of violence and control between the parents mediation may not be appropriate.
How many sessions does it take?
Most parents reach agreements in a single three hour session. Other parents require as many as three sessions.
Will property issues or child support be discussed?
No. The sessions will focus on these questions: When will the children spend time with their father? When will the children spend time with their mother? How will important decisions about parenting be made? How can the parents get along better with each other for the sake of their children, so that the children are not exposed to continual fighting through the years?
After completing the mediation process, parents who are not represented by an attorney and who are not State Enforcement Division clients, may be eligible to receive assistance regarding child support from the Josephine County District Attorney, Family Support Division, 541-474-5206.
How do I begin mediation?
After you or your attorney have filed a request for mediation with the court, you must attend an orientation session, held every Monday morning (except for holidays) from 8:15 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
The orientation is held at:
Family Court, Juvenile Justice Center
301 NW F Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526.
Please call 541-474-5180 to confirm or to request a separate orientation.
An appointment for mediation will be made after both parents have completed the orientation. Parents may meet in separate rooms during mediation sessions.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO MEDIATION.