It defines what this method of family conflict resolution consists of, its benefits in court and in which cases it should be invoked.
What is meant by family mediation?
The family mediation is a system of conflict resolution reached by the parties, helped by an impartial third party called family mediator. The mediator helps them to obtain a solution that arises from themselves, through sessions held outside the court, in an environment that favors understanding.
It is a voluntary procedure. However, with respect to some matters, the law requires submitting to it, prior to the lawsuit. The agreement reached by the parties must undergo a final approval step by the family court.
In which cases is family mediation mandatory?
In the cases of alimony, personal care of the children (guardianship) and direct and regular relationship with the children (visitation regime), the court will refer the parties to a mediator who will facilitate them to reach an agreement that ends the conflict without the need to go to trial. The agreements reached before a mediator, if approved by the judge, have the same legal value as a sentence, avoiding all the time and cost of a trial. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the normal course of a trial is resumed.
What subjects can be mediated?
- Mutual relations between the spouses, especially the maintenance that is owed.
- Alimony for the children.
- Compensatory pension for the spouse who requests it.
- Personal care of children (guardianship).
- Direct and regular relationship that the parent who does not have them under their care will maintain with the children (visits).
- Matters related to the marriage property regime.
- The educational aspects in raising children.
What subjects cannot be mediated?
- Matters related to the civil status of individuals, for example, grounds for divorce or legal separation. Yes, the effects of legal separation or divorce can be mediated.
- Declared of interdiction.
- The causes of abuse of children or adolescents.
- The procedures for the adoption of minors.
Does mediation have any cost?
For cases of voluntary mediation:
– It must be financed by the parties and its maximum value will be determined by the fee established by the Ministry of Justice .
– It will be free for people with limited resources or who are sponsored by the Judicial Assistance Corporation or another free legal aid entity.
For compulsory mediation cases :
– It is free, and exceptionally it may be charged for the service, totally or partially, when users have the resources to finance it. For this, the income level, the ability to pay and the number of people in the family group will be considered.
When is mediation held?
- Before filing a legal action,the parties can present to the family judge for approval, the agreement that they have reached out of court.
- When appearing at the Court to file the legal action,a court official will inform the parties about the possibility of mediating. If the parties agree, mediation is initiated and the filing of the claim is pending. If it is one of the prior mediation matters, the parties will be referred to it.
- During the trial. A case can be referred to mediation up to five days before the trial hearing and the trial is suspended for the duration of the mediation.
How long does the mediation process take?
It can last a maximum of 60 days from the first mediation session and can be extended for up to 60 more days, provided that the parties agree.
How is the mediator chosen?
Prior or mandatory mediation: In the absence of an agreement by the parties, it will be appointed by the family judge, from the list of mediators hired by the Ministry of Justice for these purposes. In any case, the parties may always choose, at their own expense, a mediator from the Registry of Mediators maintained by the Ministry of Justice.
Voluntary mediation: In the absence of an agreement by the parties, it will be chosen by the family judge from the Registry of Mediators maintained by the Ministry of Justice.
How does the mediation end?
If the mediation ends in agreement , the mediator prepares a record that must be read and signed by the participants. The mediator must deliver a copy to each party and submit it to the court for approval.
If there is no agreement, the mediator must prepare a term record stating why an agreement was not reached, which must, if possible, be signed by the participants, the mediator having to deliver a copy of it and send it to the court.