Beginning January 1, 2010, mediators can now be more helpful for parties and courts. Mediators can now assist the parties in drafting the settlement agreement, divorce decree and child support worksheets which need to be filed to make a divorce effective, or the settlement documents to resolve a paternity, custody or child support dispute. Prior the rule amendment, there was ethical 'grey area' regarding whether a mediator could draft the documents. Most mediators did not get involved in drafting the settlement documents that were to be filed with the court.
This rule change will also assist judges. With mediators creating and filing the documents, in theory, the documents will be in a format the judge will be able to review more efficiently. In cases with child-related issues there are often multiple documents that need to signed and filed. The mediators should be a better position than the parties to get the necessary documents filed.
The rule changes are available here. For a list of certified family law mediators go here.
In conjunction with the forms, child support calculator, and videos the Indiana Supreme Court has made available on its website, it is easier for unrepresented parties to resolve their disputes through mediation, rather than expensive litigation.