Rule 2-9. Mediation in Domestic Relations Cases

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Rule 2-9. Mediation in Domestic Relations Cases

   A. A domestic-relations matter involving children includes filings for dissolution of marriage and determination-of-paternity cases which involve issues of custody, parenting time, visitation, or other access with a child. Within fifteen (15) days after entry of this court’s progression order, both parties are required to register for the basic level parenting class, “What About the Children.” Barring an emergency, no hearing for temporary orders will be scheduled unless proof is submitted by the moving party showing completion of said parenting course. See Attachment A.

   If a modification proceeding is filed by either and/or both parties less than two (2) years after an initial decree or previous modification is entered, both parties are required to complete the second level parenting class, “Reaching Beyond Conflict.”

   Each party shall be responsible for the costs of attending either parenting education course. The court may waive or specifically allocate costs between the parties for their required participation in the course.

   Further information on parenting education courses may be found at:

   B. Mediation is required in all cases. The parties may either agree on a mediator, or if an agreement cannot be reached, the court shall order that parties involved in a domestic case filed in Sarpy County are required to attempt mediation at the Concord Mediation Center. Mediation shall be attempted within sixty (60) days of the court’s progression order. Parties involved with a domestic case filed in Cass or Otoe Counties are required to attempt mediation at either the Concord Mediation Center, the Mediation Center in Lincoln, or the Resolution Center in Beatrice within sixty (60) days of the court’s progression order. A party may not terminate mediation until after an individual initial screening session and one mediation or specialized alternative dispute resolution session are held unless said mediation is waived as provided herein.

   C. The Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution maintains a list of mediation centers approved by the Dispute Resolution Advisory Councel found here:  These mediators must meet State of Nebraska (or equivalent) standards for training in order to qualify. The following requirements apply to all participating mediators:

   (1) Each participating mediator shall comply with Nebraska Law on mediation, including the Nebraska Parenting Act.  Additionally, any mediator qualifying as a specialized mediator, who conducts specialized alternative dispute resolution, shall meet all requirements set forth by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2938(3), or any amendment thereto.  All mediators and/or specialized mediator must be willing to agree to the court requirements for participation, and each mediator will be asked to sign a statement indicating acknowledgment and acceptance of the requirements.

   (2) Court-approved mediators will determine their own fees.  In order to be on the list of court-approved mediators, a mediator must agree to use a sliding-scale fee of $25 to $75 per person per hour, determined on the basis of what each party is able to pay. Court-approved mediators must also agree to take pro bono cases on an "as needed" basis. The Court will determine the need for such pro bono services, so that the burden of these cases is equitably distributed among the participating mediators.

   D. Prior to commencing an initial mediation session, the mediator shall provide an initial individual screening session with each party to assess the presence of child abuse or neglect, unresolved parental conflict, domestic intimate-partner abuse, other forms of intimidation or coercion, or a party's inability to negotiate freely and make informed decisions. If any of these conditions exists, the mediator shall proceed with the specialized alternative dispute resolution process that addresses safety measures for the parties, if the mediator is on the approved specialized list of an approved mediation center or approved list of the State of Nebraska, or shall refer the parties to a mediator who is so qualified.

Rule 2-10 approved June 3, 2010; Rule 2-10 renumbered to Rule 2-9 and amended January 31, 2018.