Divorce Mediation Program
Program Forms and Statutes | Resources for Mediators | Resources for Attorneys
Mandatory Divorce Mediation Requirement
What is the requirement?
Beginning May 2, 2005 when an answer is filed in response to a divorce complaint (petition), all remaining contested issues are referred to mediation. Parties are required to participate in at least one session of mediation and attempt to resolve the issues in dispute. Parties must participate in mediation before the case can move forward in the court system, unless they are excused from the mediation requirement for good cause. This requirement does not preclude the entry of pretrial (temporary) orders.
Parties are responsible for identifying and paying a mediator to provide this service. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or agreed by the parties, the cost of mediation will be divided equally between the parties. The mediator who provides these services must be qualified on the ADR Court Roster to provide Divorce Mediation in accordance with Section 78-31b-5. A list of mediators in your area is available here or you can request a written copy by calling the Divorce Mediation Help Line at 1-800-620-6318.
If the parties are unable to afford a mediator, they may submit a Divorce Mediation Program Income Survey to the ADR Office to be considered for financial assistance or assignment of a pro bono mediator. For more information on this contact Bart MacKay at (435) 986-5754, the Divorce Mediation Help Line at 1-800-620-6318 or the form is available on line at www.utcourts.gov/mediation/divmed/forms.asp
Parties who do not feel their case is appropriate for mediation may be excused for good cause by the Court, The ADR Office, or a Court Qualified Mediator. If excused by the ADR Office or a Court Qualified Mediator, a notice will be sent to the court to allow the case to move forward. Reasons parties may be excused from mediation will vary from case to case and may include: the level of conflict between the parties, one or both parties do not feel safe or able to fully express themselves in a mediation process, and others as determined by the Court, The ADR Office or a Court Qualified Mediator. 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.
Either party can ask the court to excuse the mediation requirement. See our Motion to Excuse Mediation page for more information.
Why is mediation required?
Mediation is appropriate in family related matters because it encourages collaborative problem solving by the parties. Mediation provides the greatest opportunity for direct communication and the sharing of information that can be critical to the successful resolution of disputes and when children are involved, the implementation of parenting agreements. Mediation offers an environment well-suited to identifying and addressing the strong emotional issues associated with divorce and parenting conflicts. Mediation is structured to focus parties on a common interest: the resolution of the disputed issues and when children are involved, the future of their children. The informality and flexibility of the mediation process allows issues to be discussed that might otherwise be raised in a more adversarial or narrowly-focused process.
The benefits of mediation include:
- You directly participate in finding solutions to the issues in dispute;
- Mediation allows you to resolve your case more quickly;
- Mediation is less expensive;
- Mediation promotes relationships and you will end the process with a better relationship with your former spouse; and
- Mediation is less stressful than court.
- Divorce Education for Children
- Income Survey - PDF
- Application to Excuse Mandatory Divorce Mediation - PDF
- Utah Dispute Resolution (UDR - utahdisputeresolution.org)
- Utah Council on Conflict Resolution (UCCR - uccr.net)
- Utah Legal Services (utahlegalservices.org)
- Legal Aid Society (legalaidsocietyofsaltlake.org)