Iowa law (Iowa Code Section 598.7) states that “the district court may, on its own motion or on the motion of any party, order the parties to participate in mediation in any dissolution of marriage action or other domestic relations action.” What this means is that the Court, if it so desires, can require the parties to attempt mediation prior to proceeding to trial. However, in practice, the use of mediation has not been strictly enforced, generally speaking, by the Iowa Courts.
This isn’t to say that mediation isn’t gaining in popularity. For example, Iowa’s 3rd District Court (which includes Woodbury County, Iowa) has implemented a pilot program whereby identified family law cases will be required to undergo mandatory mediation prior to proceeding to trial. This program was implemented on July 1, 2014 and presents interesting prospects for furthering the application of mediation to divorce and other family law disputes.
Regardless of current guidelines and procedures relative to court administered mediation programs concerning family law matters, the most important consideration will still be based on the particular circumstances and facts of each case and whether those circumstances make that particular case a good candidate for mediation. Mediation presents substantial opportunities to resolve divorce proceedings in a timely and less contentious matter. However, the fact remains, that certain cases will simply be too contentious to have any reasonable chance at being resolved through mediation.
However, if the parties are already in agreement on many of the issues that their divorce will address, mediation may be an efficient and cost effective way to finalize their divorce. For additional information on proceeding with your divorce, including questions regarding mediation, please contact the divorce attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm.