Do I have to go to mediation even if I am a domestic violence victim?
The court may refer you to mediation if you and the other parent have trouble agreeing on custody issues, or you may ask the judge to refer you to mediation at any time. Even though 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, the judge might still decide to refer the case. In mediation, only custody and parenting time issues will be mediated. Domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual abuse issues should not be mediated. If you are referred to mediation, you can ask the judge to remove your case from mediation. The judge will do so if there is “good cause” for it.1 The judge will not refer the case for mediation if you have a temporary or final restraining order.2
1 N.J. Court Rules, R. 1:40-5(a)(1)
2 N.J. Court Rules, R. 1:40-5(b)