Who gets sent to mediation? If I am a domestic violence victim, do I have to do mediation?
Even in counties where mediation is mandatory for custody and visitation cases, a judge may decide not to send you to mediation if you can show:
- a history of child abuse or domestic violence;
- that you are currently participating in private mediation; or
- that one of the parties lives outside of the jurisdiction of the court1 (usually when one party lives in another state or county).
In certain counties, there are additional reasons that mediation would not be appropriate. For example, if the case involves multiple social service agencies, or the parent or child has serious psychological or psychiatric problems, the case may not be sent for mediation.2
If mediation is ordered in a case where there is domestic violence, your county may likely have a separate way to handle these cases.3 For example, each of you may be seated in different rooms and the mediator would go back and forth between the rooms and negotiate with each of you separately. Be sure to speak up for yourself if you are not comfortable being in the same room as the abuser or participating in mediation at all. If you think that mediation is not appropriate in your case, you may have to file legal papers (called a “motion”) in which you ask the judge to excuse you from the mediation requirement. Usually these papers are filed at the time you file for custody and can only be filed during the custody case if new information comes up to support your request.4
As with all custody issues, we suggest that you talk to a lawyer. To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the NV Finding a Lawyer page.
1 N.R.S. §§ 3.475(1) & (2)(b), 3.500(b)
2 See WDFCR 53(14)(b)
3 F.J.D.C.R. 25(14)(a); WDFCR 53(14)(a); EDCR 5.70(f)
4 F.J.D.C.R. 25(13)(A),(B); WDFCR 53(13); EDCR 5.70(g)