Frequently Asked Questions
How can I request a mediation session?
Either parent may file a motion with the court and the Court may then order mediation.
Or both parents can contact MFCS to voluntarily request mediation and to schedule an appointment, if there is a case number already in existence.
Can the other parent and I use mediation if we were not married?
Yes. Mediation is appropriate for those parents who were never married and parents who are in the initial steps of divorce; or those who are already divorced. Mediation is also available for issues of grandparent visitation.
Is there a fee?
Mediation is a two (2)-step process. The first step is to attend the group orientation. The fee is $40.00 per parent for the orientation; and repeated every ten (10) years if returning to mediation at that time. The second step is mediation participation; the first mediation session is at no charge, pursuant to Wisconsin Statute. If you need to return to mediation at any time in the future for issues of physical placement or legal custody which you are unable to agree on, there will be a fee which varies from $75 to $125 per parent. Mediation participation is cost effective, affordable and sessions are readily available.
How does an agreement made in mediation become part of my court order?
Agreements in mediation are voluntary. Your joint decisions are drafted into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the mediator and sent for review to you and your attorney, if you have one. After both parents review & sign the MOA, the document is submitted to the Court; the MOA then is a Court Order and Stipulation when signed by the Judge.
What is in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)?
Please refer to the 1999 Wisconsin Act 9 and WI STATE STAT 767 outlining Parenting Plan Requirements.
- Legal custody (who makes the decisions, including school choice)
- Periods of physical placement (time with each parent, including regular and holidays)
Can my Attorney, another family member, or new partner be in the mediation with me?
Mediation appointments are with birth parents or adoptive parents only. Please do not bring children to the orientation and mediation sessions.
Do I need an attorney?
While legal representation is not required, each parent is encouraged to consult independent legal counsel for advice on the implications of decisions made in mediation. The mediator does not provide legal advice or legal representation.
Do I have to attend with the other parent?
The orientation session may be attended separately, but the mediation session is conducted with both parents and a mediator. New partners may attend the orientation however are not allowed in the joint mediation session.
The decisions in mediation are those of both parents.
How long does a mediation session last?
Sessions are typically two (2) hours in length; sometimes it takes more than one session for parents to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The parents, along with the mediator, will determine how many sessions are necessary.
What if we don’t reach an agreement in mediation?
The case is referred back to Court and the Court may assign a Guardian Ad Litem for your child.
Will the mediator testify in court?
The mediator does not testify in court. This is in accordance with Wisconsin Statute 904.085(3)(b). Recordings are not permitted.
Conversations in mediation are confidential.
If the other parent is not complying with our court-ordered agreement, what are my options?
Both parents can request to return to mediation voluntarily to work out a disagreement. Or one parent can file a motion with the Court and the Court may then order you to return to mediation to resolve a dispute. Independent legal counsel is also encouraged.
Will I have to return to mediation after the first session?
Only if you have issues related to physical placement and legal custody that you cannot agree on.