Court Ordered Divorce Mediation
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Court Ordered Divorce Mediation

Mediation is a method by which an unbiased 3rd party intervenes between 2 conflicting parties to reach a cooperative agreement, settlement or resolution. Mediation is a useful device for resolving just about all civil (non-criminal) disputes, including but not limited to divorces and employment conflicts. The mediator will not, nor is authorized to make decisions; the disputing parties reach the decisions with the assistance and guidance from the mediator.

When Do Courts Order Mediation?

Mediation is now generally required by family courts to resolve issues like child custody and visitation and/or child support agreements. The court is going to screen the parties to see if mediation is recommended, and if so, a court approved mediator is going to be chosen to assist the case.

When Do Courts Not Order Mediation?

Family courts is not going to order mediation in particular circumstances, even when it is the court’s policy to require as such.

Common situations in which courts are not going to order mediation comprise of cases where the parties have a history of imbalance of power, domestic abuse, substance and/or child abuse, and mental health issues. When the court’s screening process neglects to recognize that your particular situation is not suitable for mediation, you might be able to opt out of the courts order.

Mediation vs. Litigation

Litigation is more costly then mediation. This is usually because litigation is required to go through processes like discovery to collect evidence and information relevant to the case, a process in which takes time and money. Mediation also leaves the result of the case in the hands of the parties involved as opposed to waiting on the outcome from a judge or jury. As such, the parties are usually able to devise a solution a court may not be able to come to. Mediation is also a confidential process; the parties don’t have to disclose details to the public if they don’t want to. Court trials, as a regulation, are required to transcribe all that is said onto the public record.

Mediation vs. Arbitration

A mediator usually has no authority to render a conclusive decision. It is up to the those involved, with the mediator’s assistance, to work informally toward a mutually favorable agreement. However, an arbitrator, taking the role of judge, carries out a hearing between the parties, then renders a legally conclusive decision. Arbitration, in which has long been used to is resolving commercial and labor conflicts, looks like a court hearing with witnesses summoned and evidence presented. Mediation is devoid of the formalities that an arbitration or court environment requires.

Disadvantages of Mediation

Even though mediation has several advantages, there are some disadvantages to the process. Primarily, because mediation is a private meeting without the formal regulations of an arbitration or litigation, those involved are usually able to conceal information or evidence they may not have been able to hide in a normal court environment. Second, mediation presumes that the parties in dispute have equal power. When one party is too submissive or when one party was abusive in any way against the other party, meditation is unable to help affirm the rights of the afflicted party. Therefore, meditation is not used in criminal issues (among other reasonings). Lastly, when the mediation for any reason is unsuccessful, the parties will have squandered their time and money.

Additional Mediation Details

  • Mediation usually takes less time than a trial and can usually take anywhere from half of a day to multiple weeks.
  • Mediation is private and nothing that is said in mediation can be used in court should the process fail.
  • Mediation is typically swift and cost-effective.
  • Mediation is highly useful when dealing with cases of a sensitive and personal nature, in which it is vital that trust and collaboration exist during the process.

Am I Required to Have a Lawyer for Court Ordered Mediation?

When you are engaged in a child support and/or custody dispute, you might wish to talk with a family lawyer even when the court ordered mediation. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer can help you comprehend your rights and assist you in dealing with the complex court system.


  1. LaMance, K. (2018, April 23). Mediation lawyers. LegalMatch Law Library. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from

Speak with Our Mediators in Arizona Today

While the mediation process is not for everyone, it can save you money, stress, and hassle. Speak with a professional mediator to find out if it is right for you.

If you’re ready to start your consultation with Ogborne Law, visit our Mediation Consultation request page.

Ogborne Law can help with divorce mediation in Phoenix, Arizona, and surrounding areas. Our law office is located at 5020 E Shea Blvd Suite 240, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 inside the Paradise Valley Plaza.

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