The Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (hereinafter “ARFLP”) define mediation as “a voluntary confidential process in which parties enter into one or more private discussions with a neutral third party to resolve the dispute.” ARFLP 66(B).
The Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure state that any issue may be mediated. ARFLP 67(B). The parties can agree to mediation, or the Court may order mediation. ARFLP 67(B)(2). However, even when ordered, participation is voluntary. ARFLP 67(B)(9).
The Court may appoint a mediator, or the parties may agree to a mediator. The agreement reached in mediation must comply with ARFLP 69, and “the parties shall acknowledge that the agreement was entered into by them voluntarily and without threat or undue influence, after full disclosure of all relevant facts and information, that it is intended to be a binding agreement, and that it is fair and equitable, and, where there are minor children common to the parties, that it is in the best interests of the children.” ARFLP 67(B)(7)
The Court may decline to order mediation where mediation may not be appropriate, such as where there has been domestic violence. ARFLP 67(B)(2). If domestic violence has occurred, proper procedures must be in place to protect the victim. ARFLP 67(B)(2)(a). The mediator also has an obligation to decline to mediate a case where domestic violence makes it inappropriate. ARFLP 67(B)(2)(c).
The Court may appoint a Judge Pro Tem to conduct the mediation, in which case the Pro Tem may approve agreements, make jurisdictional findings and enter orders. ARFLP 67(B)(1)(b). The Pro Tem may be paid, but not for judicial tasks, such as approving agreements or signing orders. Id.
Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or email@example.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.
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