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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 11-719



Adoption of Local Rules of Court; Administrative Order: No. 2011-J-28

[41 Pa.B. 2224]
[Saturday, April 30, 2011]

Order of Court

 And now, this 17th day of March 2011, effective May 30, 2011, it is hereby Ordered that Lehigh County Rules pertaining to Voluntary Mediation in Custody Actions are Amended as follows:

Rule 1940.3. Rescinded.

Rule 1940.4. Rescinded.

Rule 1940.6. Rescinded.

Rule 1940.7. Rescinded.

New Rules Adopted

Rule 1940.3. Order for Orientation Session and Mediation.

 (a) Except as provided in (b), the court may order the parties to attend a mediation orientation session at any time upon request of a party or the court's own initiative.

 (1) Upon commencement of an action for custody or upon filing of a petition for modification or contempt, the moving party may request in writing an order directing the parties to attend a mediation orientation session. The request shall be directed to the family court administrator on the form provided by the family court office.

 (2) If the moving party has not made such a request, the non-moving party may, within five (5) business days of receipt of the pleading, request in writing an order for a mediation orientation session. The request shall be directed to the family court administrator on the form provided by the family court office.

 (3) At the conclusion of the mediation orientation session, the parties may consent to proceed immediately with mediation.

 (4) Upon agreement of the parties, the court may schedule mediation at any time during the pendency of an action involving custody.

 (b) Notwithstanding a request by a party, the court shall not issue an order for a mediation orientation session if a party or a child of either party is or has been the subject of domestic violence or child abuse either during the pendency of the action or within 24 months preceding the filing of the action.

Rule 1940.4. Minimum Qualifications of the Mediator.

 A mediator is a person approved by the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas who has met the requirements of Pa.R.C.P. 1940.4 and any additional qualifications this court may from time to time require.

Rule 1940.6. Termination of Mediation.

 (a) If an agreement is reached through mediation, the mediator shall prepare a memorandum of agreement as follows:

 (1) for the parties' signatures, if neither is represented by counsel, or

 (2) for the parties' review with counsel.

 (b) If no agreement is reached, the case shall be scheduled for conference before a custody hearing officer.

Rule 1940.7. Mediator Compensation.

 (a) Mediators shall be compensated for their services at a rate to be established by the court.

 (b) Fees for mediation shall be established by the court, and shall be paid to the Clerk of Judicial Records prior to a mediation orientation session.

By the Court

President Judge

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 11-719. Filed for public inspection April 29, 2011, 9:00 a.m.]

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