Alabama has a statute called "Mandatory Mediation Prior to Trial." The statute defines mediation as a process in which a neutral third party assists the parties to a civil action in reaching their settlement but does not have the authority to force the parties to accept a binding decision. Mediation is mandatory in the following situations:
At any time when all parties agree.
Upon a motion by any party. If this happens, the party requesting mediation shall pay all the costs of mediation, except attorney fees, unless otherwise agreed.
In the event no party requests mediation, the court may decide to order it. The trial court may allocate the costs of mediation, except attorney fees, among the parties.
A court cannot order parties into mediation for resolution of the issues in a petition for an order for protection where domestic violence is alleged.
In a proceeding where there is a concern with custody or visitation of a child, and if an order for protection is in effect or if the court finds that domestic violence has occurred, the court shall not order mediation.
A mediator who receives a referral or order from a court to conduct mediation shall screen for the occurrence of domestic or family violence between the parties. Where evidence of domestic violence exists mediation shall occur only if:
Mediation is requested by the victim of the alleged domestic or family violence.
Mediation is provided by a certified mediator who is trained in domestic and family violence in a specialized manner that protects the safety of the victim, and
The victim is permitted to have in attendance at mediation a supporting person of his or her choice, including but no limited to an attorney or advocate.
Where a claim of immunity is offered as a defense, the court shall dispose of the immunity issue before any mediation is conducted.
A court can't order parties into mediation if any action involving child support, adult protection services or child protective services where the Department of Human Resources is involved.
If you have any questions about Divorce Mediation, contact Rucker Law Firm at 251-626-7224 or email at info@RuckerLawFirm.com.