In a divorce procedure, there are two parties, the Petitioner who files for divorce by filing a divorce petition and the Respondent who responds or answers the divorce petition. Since 2005, Utah has required all contested issues to be referred to mediation once a Respondent answers the divorce petition. At a minimum, both parties must participate in one mediation session before the case may proceed through the court system, with a few exceptions. See Utah Courts Divorce Mediation.
How is a Utah Divorce Mediator Chosen?
Utah law requires the parties to identify and pay for a mediator to provide a mediation session. These costs are typically divided between both parties. The mediator providing Utah divorce meditation must be qualified under Section 78-31b-5. In the event that the parties cannot afford a mediator, they may apply for financial assistance or request a pro bono mediator.
What if Divorce Mediation is Inappropriate?
In the event that the parties feel that divorce mediation is in inappropriate for their specific case, the Utah State Court, a Court Qualified Mediator, or the ADR Office may excuse mediation for “good cause”. If the Utah divorce mediation process is excused, the divorce case may continue through the Utah court system. Reasons to excuse mediation may include that one of the parties feeling unsafe, that higher level of conflict exists between the parties, one of the parties may not be able to express themselves while in a mediation setting, and other reasons deemed excusable by the Utah State Court. See www.utcourts.gov/mediation/divmed/forms.asp.
Contact a Utah Divorce Mediation Attorney
Contact a certified mediator at Pearson Butler if you are interested in a low conflict divorce resolution. Our Utah mediation team provides free initial consultations to assess whether mediation is appropriate for you, call (800) 265-2314.