What is mediation?
Mediation is a process by which parents attempt to reach an agreement relating to legal decision-making and parenting time of their child. Mediation usually involves the help of a trained professional (a "mediator") who guides the discussion process between the parents and tries to come to a compromise that both parents are happy with. Mediation is not required for legal decision-making and parenting time cases in Arizona.
Mediation in domestic violence situations often does not work since one parent is usually afraid of the other and may not feel comfortable or safe disagreeing with the abusive parent. If you are or have been the victim of domestic violence, make sure the judge knows this. Arizona law does not allow the judge to order joint counseling in a domestic violence situation. If the judge does so, you may be able to file a petition to prevent it.1 However, if you are a victim and you choose to go to mediation, you can attend the mediation proceeding at a different time and location from the abuser.2
1 A.R.S. § 25-403.03(G)
2 See Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Advocates in Domestic Violence Cases: A Lay Legal Advocates’ Guide to Arizona Law (2012)