Mediation is a facilitated negotiation process where a neutral third party mediator works with divorcing spouses to amicably settle contested issues such as property division, child custody and alimony. In Utah, parties are required to attend mediation before they are permitted to try contested family law issues before a judge. Utah Code Ann. §30-3-39 provides that, “after the filing of an answer to a complaint of divorce, if there are any remaining issues, the parties shall participate in good faith in at least one session of mediation.”
Utah law presumes that solutions agreed to by the parties are preferable to court imposed solutions. The domestic court commissioner assigned to your case may actually require you to attend several mediation sessions before certifying your case for trial. Most cases resolve in mediation or through post-mediation negotiations between attorneys. Although you may be heard by the court for temporary orders, protective orders or objection hearings, family law cases rarely go to trial.