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Dispute Resolution and Mediation in Virginia Child Custody Cases

The Code of Virginia provides at § 20-124.4. that

“In any appropriate case the court shall refer the parents or persons with a legitimate interest to a dispute resolution evaluation session to be conducted by a mediator certified pursuant to guidelines promulgated by the Judicial Council at no cost and in accordance with the procedures set out in Chapter 20.2 (§ 8.01-576.4 et seq.) of Title 8.01. In assessing the appropriateness of a referral, the court shall ascertain upon motion of a party whether there is a history of family abuse. If an agreement is not reached on any issue through further mediation as agreed to by the parties, prior to the return date set by the court pursuant to § 8.01-576.5, the court shall proceed with a hearing on any unresolved issue, unless a continuance has been granted by the court. The fee of a mediator appointed in any custody, support or visitation case shall be $100 per appointment and shall be paid by the Commonwealth from the funds appropriated for payment of appointments made pursuant to subsection B of § 16.1-267".

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