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Legal Information: Alaska

Statutes: Alaska

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August 8, 2023

Sec. 25.24.060. Mediation

(a) Except as provided in (f) and (g) of this section, at any time within 30 days after a complaint or cross-complaint in a divorce action is filed, a party to the action may file a motion with the court requesting mediation, for the purpose of achieving a mutually agreeable settlement in termination of the marriage. When a party moves for settlement mediation, the other party shall answer the motion on the record, and the judge may order mediation. When no request for mediation is made, the court may at any time order the parties to submit to mediation if it determines that mediation may result in a more satisfactory settlement between the parties.

(b) The court appoints the mediator. The court may appoint any person the court finds suitable to act as mediator. Each party shall have the right once to challenge peremptorily any mediator appointed.

(c) Mediation shall be conducted informally as a conference or series of conferences. The parties to the action and a court-appointed representative of any unmarried children of the marriage under the age of 19 whose interests may be affected shall attend. Counsel for the parties may attend all such conferences.

(d) After the first conference, either party may withdraw, or the mediator may terminate mediation if the mediator determines that mediation efforts are unsuccessful. Upon withdrawal by either party or termination by the mediator, the mediator shall notify the court that mediation efforts have failed, and the divorce action shall proceed in the usual manner.

(e) Upon submission of the parties to mediation under this section, divorce proceedings then pending shall be stayed for a period of 30 days or until the court is notified that mediation efforts have failed. All court orders made under AS 25.24.140 remain in effect during the period of mediation.

(f) The court may not order or refer parties to mediation in a divorce proceeding if a protective order issued or filed under AS 18.66.100 - 18.66.180 is in effect. The court may not order or refer parties to mediation if a party objects on the grounds that domestic violence has occurred between the parties unless the court finds that the conditions of (g)(1) - (3) of this section are met. If the court proposes or suggests mediation under this subsection,

(1) mediation may not occur unless the victim of the alleged domestic violence agrees to the mediation; and

(2) the court shall advise the parties that each party has the right to not agree to mediation and that the decision of each party will not bias other decisions of the court.

(g) A mediator who receives a referral or order from a court to conduct mediation under (a) of this section shall evaluate whether domestic violence has occurred between the parties. A mediator may not engage in mediation when either party has committed a crime involving domestic violence unless

](1) mediation is requested by the victim of the alleged domestic violence, or proposed by the court and agreed to by the victim;

](2) mediation is provided by a mediator who is trained in domestic violence in a manner that protects the safety of the victim and any household member, taking into account the results of an assessment of the potential danger posed by the perpetrator and the risk of harm to the victim; and

(3) the victim is permitted to have in attendance a person of the victim’s choice, including an attorney.