3.500. Establishment of programs of mandatory mediation in county whose population is 100,000 or more but less than 700,000; report to Legislature
1. In a county whose population is 100,000 or more and less than 700,000, the district court shall establish by rule approved by the Supreme Court a program of mandatory mediation in cases which involve the custody or visitation of a child. A district court in a county whose population is less than 100,000 may establish such a program in the same manner for use in that county. The district courts in two or more counties whose populations are less than 100,000 may establish such a program in the same manner for use in the counties in which the courts are located.
2. The program must:
(a) Require the impartial mediation of the issues of custody and visitation and any other nonfinancial issue deemed appropriate by the court.
(b) Allow the court to exclude a case from the program for good cause shown, including a showing of a history of child abuse or domestic violence by one of the parties, ongoing private mediation or residency of one of the parties out of the jurisdiction of the court.
(c) Provide standards for the training of the mediators assigned to cases pursuant to the rule, including but not limited to:
(1) Minimum educational requirements, which may not be restricted to any particular professional or educational training;
(2) Minimum requirements for training in the procedural aspects of mediation and the interpersonal skills necessary to act as a mediator;
(3) A minimum period of apprenticeship for persons who have not previously acted as domestic mediators;
(4) Minimum requirements for continuing education; and
(5) Procedures to ensure that potential mediators understand the high standard of ethics and confidentiality related to their participation in the program.
(d) Prohibit the mediator from reporting to the court any information about the mediation other than whether the mediation was successful or not.
(e) Establish a sliding schedule of fees for participation in the program based on the client’s ability to pay.
(f) Provide for the acceptance of gifts and grants offered in support of the program.
(g) Allow the court to refer the parties to a private mediator for assistance in resolving the issues.
3. The costs of the program must be paid from the account for dispute resolution in the county general fund. All fees, gifts and grants collected pursuant to this section must be deposited in the account.
4. This section does not prohibit a court from referring a financial or other issue to a special master or other person for assistance in resolving the dispute.