Eighth Judicial Court Rules

Rule 5.70 – Mandatory Mediation Program.

Rule 5.70. Mandatory Mediation Program.

  • (a) Pursuant to NRS 3.475 the Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Division, has established a court-connected mandatory mediation program through the Family Mediation Center (FMC). All parties filing an answer for domestic contested child custody, access or visitation disputes must attend mediation prior to the hearing or trial of their matter. The mediation process will function independent of any other court proceedings. In the event there are issues of child abuse or domestic violence involved, or if one party is living out of state, a waiver excluding mandatory mediation may be filed. For good cause shown, the assigned trial judge may waive the requirement of mandatory mediation in individual cases. Parties may participate in mediation through the private sector by submitting a “Private Mediator Form” available in the county clerk’s office.

    (b) When a party should file for mediation:

    (1) Upon notice of the filing of a contested answer, the plaintiff must, within 10 days, absent good cause, file a Stipulation and Order for Mediation or a FMC Request and Order for Mediation.

    (2) If a Motion for Custody and Complaint for Divorce are filed simultaneously, the moving party must also complete a Request and Order for Mediation. The non-moving party may at any time upon service of the answer and/or after the non-moving party has been served with the Complaint and/or Motion, prepare and file the FMC Request and Order for Mediation.

    (3) The Court may at any time, upon its own motion, refer the parties to mediation.

    (c) Parties can access mediation through the court-connected program by:

    (1) Stipulation and Order for Mediation. If both parties mutually agree to attend mediation, the attorneys or the parties may request mediation by stipulation and order. If the parties are represented by an attorney, then it is the responsibility of the attorney to prepare the Stipulation and Order for Mediation. If neither party is being represented, then the Plaintiff must prepare the Stipulation and Order.

    (A) The moving party shall complete a “Stipulation and Order for Mediation.” The completed stipulation and order for mediation must include address information and telephone numbers for both parties.

    (B) The completed order is routed to the court assigned to the case for judicial signature by the moving party or their attorney.

    (C) The signed order is filed in the clerk’s office by the party or their attorney, and a copy is forwarded to FMC for appointment scheduling by the party or their attorney.

    (2) Request and Order for Mediation. Where a stipulation between parties cannot be obtained, either party, or an attorney, may initiate the mediation process pursuant to the above time lines. This process also includes post-divorce issues in which the parties have a valid, custody order and only one party wishes to access mediation prior to motioning the court.

    (A) Either party or attorney completes a “FMC Request and Order for Mediation,” available at the county clerk’s office. The completed order must include address information and telephone numbers for both parties.

    (B) The completed order is routed to the court assigned to the case for judicial signature by the moving party or their attorney.

    (C) The signed order is filed in the clerk’s office and a copy is forwarded to FMC for appointment scheduling by the party or their attorney.

    (3) Court Order for Mediation. Where either party has not initiated mediation services prior to a court appearance, regarding contested custody issues, the court signs an order in open court, filed by the court clerk, directing the parties to FMC to begin the mediation process.

    (A) Parties present order for services to FMC and appointments are scheduled.

    (d) Parties or counsel, by agreement, may select a private mediator.

    (1) If a private mediator is selected, a “Private Mediation Form” must be filed with the court. The notice shall include the name of the mediator and the date set for the first mediation conference.

    (2) The parties shall contract directly with the private mediator and be responsible for payment of fees and scheduling for mediation service.

    (3) The mediator has a right to withdraw from any case.

    (4) Private mediators shall provide written proof to the court that the parties have attended mediation. This report shall indicate that the parties successfully mediated a full or partial parenting agreement, or that they reached an impasse.

    (e) Mediation shall be held in private, and all communications, verbal or written, shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed, even upon waiver of the privilege by either or both parties, except where the mediator is required to report any information which falls within the scope of the child abuse reporting requirements.

    (f) FMC shall establish procedures to assure that cases which are inappropriate for mediation or which may require special protocols for the protection of parties are screened prior to any contact between the parties in the mediation process.

    (g) A party who believes a case is inappropriate for referral to mediation may seek an exemption from mediation.

    (1) The party seeking an exemption must file a motion with the court.

    (2) The motion should be filed with the initial pleading of the moving party.

    (3) The motion may be filed at a later time if new information is obtained supporting a motion.

    (h) A party may have a third person present for support before and after meetings with the mediator; however, the support person may not be present during mediation sessions.

    (i) Upon order to FMC, a mediation appointment, which includes both parties, shall be scheduled, unless exempted by NRS 3.475.

    (1) Counsel for the parties shall be provided an opportunity to confer with the mediator prior to the mediation conference and shall be excluded thereafter, where, in the discretion of the mediator, exclusion of counsel is deemed appropriate or necessary, by the mediator.

    (2) If an interpreter is required to conduct the mediation process, it is the responsibility of the party needing the interpreter to pay for and/or provide one. A family member should not be used as the interpreter without the consent of the other party and opposing counsel. The interpreter’s role shall be strictly limited to that of interpreting, not offering opinions or suggestions.

    (j) Outcome of mediation services shall be reported to the court as follows:

    (1) If the mediation is successful in resolving any of the custody, access or visitation issues, a written agreement shall be submitted to the court.

    (2) In the event that agreement is not reached, the mediator shall notify the court in writing that mediation has been concluded and an agreement was not reached.

    (3) If one or both parties fail to appear at any mediation conference, the mediator shall report the identity of each person who failed to appear to the court. The court may, thereafter, take whatever action it deems necessary or appropriate, including imposing sanctions.

    (4) A partial parenting agreement outlining any unresolved issues may be submitted. The partial parenting agreement may include options A and B, which will describe each parent’s desired outcome, to be determined by the court.

    (k) If both parties agree to remediate after initially mediating through FMC, mediation can again be offered by FMC. The previous parenting agreement must have been signed by a judge. Any outstanding fees must be paid in full before services are initiated.

    (l) The FMC mediator or private mediator shall not conduct an evaluation of the parties after mediation or as part of the mediation process. Additionally, the FMC mediator or private mediator shall not provide written or verbal recommendations as part of the mediation process.

    (m) The Family Division may adopt and approve forms which private practitioners are required to use. Upon notification, the court has the discretion to modify, amend, or supplement the existing forms or add new forms.

    (n) FMC fees may be assessed to parties referred to mediation based upon a sliding fee scale. The minimum fee for each party shall be $50.00 and the maximum fee for each party shall be $200.00. Parties who are receiving public assistance shall receive a fee waiver for mediation services upon verification of benefits. Nonpayment of these fees may subject the party to the issuance of an order to show cause why the party should not be held in contempt.

    (o) FMC mediators shall have the following minimum qualifications:

    (1) Law Degree or Masters Degree in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling or related behavioral science.

    (2) Sixty hours child custody and divorce mediation training including a minimum of 4 hours of domestic violence training, sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts or approved by the Academy of Family Mediators.

    (3) Three years experience in the domestic relations arena conducting child custody mediation.

    (p) FMC mediators must complete 15 hours continuing education each calendar year. The areas of training may include, but are not limited to the following: mediation models, theory, and techniques; the nature of conflict and its resolution; family law; the legal process, and case law relevant to the performance of mediation; substance abuse; recent research applicable to the profession; family life cycles: divorce, family reorganization, and remarriage; child development; crisis intervention; interviewing skills; domestic violence, including child abuse, spousal abuse, and child neglect, and the possibility of danger in the mediation session; parent education; sensitivity to individual, gender, racial, and cultural diversity and socioeconomic status; family systems theory; the development of parenting plans, parental alienation syndrome and the role of parenting plans in the family’s transition.

    (q) FMC mediators shall adhere to the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators as jointly developed by the American Arbitration Association, American Bar Association and Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

    [Replaced; effective September 27, 1998; amended; effective August 21, 2000.]