TWELFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
FAMILY COURT DIVISION
JUVENILE CASE MANAGEMENT PLAN
ADDENDUM TO CIVIL CASE RULES
NOVEMBER 8, 2007
1. Upon motion of a party, after proper notice, or upon the Court’s own motion, the Court may order parties in any case to participate in mediation at any stage of the proceedings.
2. If mediation is ordered by the Court, mediations shall be scheduled by the Family Court Administrator or Juvenile Case Coordinator. Notice shall include the time, date and place of the mediation and be provided to the parties and/or the attorneys no later than seven calendar days prior to the scheduled mediation.
3. All parties and their attorneys, including the assigned social worker and supervisor, shall attend the mediation. If the assigned Judge determines there are other individuals whose input may be helpful in the mediation process, the Court may order others be included in the mediation sessions. The mediator, with input from the parties or their attorneys, shall determine if the mediation can proceed when a person who has been allowed to attend mediation does not appear.
4. Although parties may be ordered to attend mediation there shall be no punitive measures taken by the Court if a mediated agreement is not reached.
5. Parties and attorneys who are ordered to attend a mediation session, but who fail to appear may face Court sanctions, including but not limited to, contempt of court.
6. Mediation sessions that occur prior to the adjudication may address stipulations to the facts alleged in the petition and the development of a case plan for the parents or caretakers. Complete or partial agreements as to the petition and/or the case plan may be reached as a result of a pre-adjudication mediation.
7. Mediation sessions that occur post-adjudication may address the issues of visitation, communication, permanent placement, surrender/post adoption contact or other issues that may result in permanence for a child.
8. If an agreement is reached at the mediation, the mediator shall draft the written agreement while all parties are present prior to the conclusion of the mediation session. All parties shall sign the written agreement and shall receive a copy of the agreement prior to the conclusion of the session. In cases successfully mediated prior to adjudication, agreements signed by all parties shall be delivered by DSS to the Court at the next scheduled court hearing or at an earlier date if all parties consent. The mediated agreement shall be read into the record. The Court may accept or reject the mediated agreement. If the Court accepts the mediated agreement and signs the agreement, the agreement is an enforceable order of the court. In cases mediated after adjudication, the Court shall determine whether the mediated agreement will become a part of the court record.
9. In all mediation proceedings, the mediators and each person present shall sign a confidentiality agreement prior to commencement of the mediation session.
10. All participants, including mediators, shall honor the confidentiality agreement regardless of the outcome of the mediation. No reports or recordings regarding the content of the mediation may be produced by any participant to the mediation. Admissions or statements made during a mediation session are not admissible at an adjudication hearing. EXCEPTION: Nothing herein shall waive the statutory obligation of any person to report suspected additional abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to NCGS 7B – 301.
11. The Juvenile Case Coordinator shall screen cases involving issues of domestic violence and ensure, with the advice and consent of the persons scheduled to mediate issues, that appropriate safety measures are taken. The mediators may terminate mediation at any time they determine mediation is not appropriate.
12. The Court shall appoint the mediators in each case. The parties and their attorneys may make recommendations to the Court regarding potential mediators.
These rules are effective for all actions pending on or filed on or after January 1, 2008.
This the 8th day of November, 2008
A. Elizabeth Keever
Chief District Court Judge
RULE 1. PUS
6.1 In order to ensure general uniformity throughout this judicial district, all trial judges shall observe and enforce the local rules in effect.