Mediation is Ordered by the Court

Under Utah law (Utah Code Annotated §30-3-39), divorcing couples are required to attend mediation if any contested issues remain after an answer to the divorce petition has been filed. The reason behind the court’s decision to make mediation mandatory is simple: mediation leads to settlements.

With divorce being such a prevalent part of today’s society, the court system is congested with family law cases. The overwhelming number of couples going through a divorce takes a heavy toll on the legal system as judges try to navigate their way through the seemingly endless list of divorcing couples demanding attention. This leads to a great deal of time, expense, and energy being geared solely towards divorce. As a result of this, the courts get further and further behind with their case loads.

Mandating mediation has helped to greatly reduce some of the congestion within the court system. Through the mandatory mediation requirement, the vast majority of family law cases end up settling outside of court. This allows the parties and the court to avoid the hassle of going through a time-consuming and expensive trial in the hopes of getting things resolved.

Furthermore, because mediation leads to settlement, the court encourages parties to use mediation as an alternative to the traditional setting. Mediation offers many advantages over litigation, and hence the courts try to encourage parties to try to resolve issues between themselves – with the help of their mediator – as opposed to the alternative of having a judge give them orders. Statistics show that couples who have a say in their final divorce decree (the final court document dictating the terms of their divorce) are more likely to stick to the terms of the agreement than those couples who are forced into an agreement due to a judge’s ruling.