In Iowa, the court can order mediation sessions before a divorce including children or a child custody case is set for trial. Mediation allows opposing parties to meet and negotiate in a neutral setting. A trained mediator will participate and lead the mediation to ensure discussions are fair and productive. Mediation is private, confidential, and highly effective. Mediation can be used to resolve issues in a divorce such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and division of assets and liabilities.
Mediation encourages parents to act and negotiate in the best interest of their child, who they know best. When given the opportunity to negotiate, parties often come to an agreement on conditions and terms, especially in relation to child custody. Even if the parties are not able to reach a final settlement, mediation helps participants express their wishes in a safe space while being encouraged to actively listen to the opposing party.
There are times when mediation is not appropriate and can be waived. If there is a history of domestic violence, the court will rarely require mediation. Other situations where mediation may not be required is if a party lives out of state or is incarcerated.