Know the Laws: Nevada
UPDATED May 29, 2012
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Mediation is a negotiation between 2 or more people to resolve differences, which is led by a neutral third party (called a mediator). In a custody case, a judge may refer you and the other parent to mediation to try to reach an agreement on custody and/or visitation in the hope that you can avoid going to trial.
Mediation is not available in all counties. In counties with 100,000 people or more, mediation is required for custody and visitation cases (subject to the exceptions explained in the next question). In counties with under 100,000 people, the court has the option of setting up a mediation program or not.** N.R.S. §§ 3.475(1), 3.500(1)
Even in counties where mediation is mandatory for custody and visitation cases, a judge may decide not to send you to mediation if you can show:
Usually, the mediator has the power to decide who else besides you and the other parent gets involved in the mediation. In many counties, if you have a lawyer, the lawyer has the right to talk to the mediator before the mediation but the mediator has the option to exclude (remove) the attorney from the mediation if s/he believes that it is appropriate or necessary.* In other counties, the mediation is always done without the lawyers present but any agreement that you and the other parent come to cannot be turned into the judge until your lawyer has approved it.**
The mediator usually also has the right to interview the child(ren) if s/he believes it is appropriate.*
In most counties, the mediator must keep confidential what was said during the mediation (except if s/he has to report child abuse allegations). However, the mediator will tell the judge if you do not show up, which could have an effect on your case and could cause you to be punished by the judge.*** Therefore, it is important that you appear for the mediation date just as you would appear for your court date.
* F.J.D.C.R. 25(7)(B) & (C); WDFCR 53(7)(b) & (c)
** 4JDCR 5(5)(a)(3)
*** F.J.D.C.R. 25(9)(A) & (10); WDFCR 53(9)(a) & (10); EDCR 5.70(e) & (j)(3)
Generally, the parents are expected to split the costs of child custody mediation. In counties where mediation is required by law (where the population is more than 100,000*), fees are based on a sliding scale, depending on each parent's ability to pay.*** N.R.S. §§ 3.500(1) & §3.475(1)