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Indiana Mediation Law

Question: ASK THE MEDIATOR: What is the new divorce mediation law all about?

Answer: When the dissolution law was recodified by the 1997 legislature, four new mediation sections were added. Three are statewide, and provide that in any dissolution, separation, support, custody or visitation proceeding, at any time the court issues an order (other than ex parte), the judge "shall determine" whether mediation should be required, considering the ability to pay and whether "mediation is appropriate in helping the parties resolve their disputes." IC 31-15-9.4-1, 31-16-6.4-1, and 31-17-2.4-1.

House Bill 1092 also set up a two-year pilot program for Allen County. Beginning on January 1, 1998, Allen County will have a $20 add-on to the $100 divorce filing fee, and establish an ADR fund. Funds will be targeted for tough custody cases, utilizing both attorney-mediators and mental health professional-mediators.

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In Indiana, both parents contribute to the support of their child. The parent with greater earning power typically pays child support if he or she is not the custodial parent. In deciding child support, the court considers the financial resources of the parent who has primary physical custody of the child and makes every attempt to ensure that the child has the same standard of living they would have had if the parents had not divorced. Other factors the court considers are special physical, mental or educational needs. The court also considers the financial resources and personal needs of the noncustodial parent. Indiana statute includes child support guidelines that provide a formula for determining the amount each parent should contribute to the child's welfare based on their combined weekly, adjusted income.
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