My friend is going to mediation in juvenile court. She filed for termination of her ex spouse parental rights. What to expect in this Mediation? Will she has the right to talk about the history of domestic violence, non exercise visitations in the past? about his bully and an abuser?
The purpose of mediation in juvenile court is to try to resolve the issues present in the case before an evidentiary hearing. It is an opportunity for the parties to have a say in the outcome of the case. Once the case goes to trial(evidentiary hearing) the judge will decide and both sides will be stuck with the judge's decision. Mediation is typically informal. Both sides are free to say what they want, but the court appointed mediator is not a judge and is not there to take evidence. While those things may help the mediator steer the parties toward a settlement, he or she will not consider the evidence beyond that purpose and will not be making any legal rulings. The most important thing to remember going into a mediation is that the mediator is charged with one objective... try to settle this case. This sometimes means that the mediator will try to convince both side of the weakness in their case and that settling versus taking your chance at trial is the best thing to do. While that is often the case, neither party is required to settle. If you don't agree with what the other party is offering, there is no obligation to settle. You should consult with an experienced juvenile court attorney prior to the mediation. There are a lot of important and complex issues involved in a case like this that really should be guided by an attorney. My office has handled many cases such as this. There are also a number of other highly qualified attorneys listed here that could help you.
The answer above is based on the minimal facts provided in the question. The answer could change if additional facts become known. Another attorney may have a different view of the question. Consulting with an experienced Arizona family law attorney is strongly suggested. The response given to your question does not create an attorney client relationship.
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