Adoption of Local Rules; No. MC-13-2009
[39 Pa.B. 3041]
[Saturday, June 20, 2009]
And Now, this 5th day of June, 2009, it is hereby Ordered as follows:
1. The court hereby adopts the following Local Rules:
17CV1915.4. Prompt Disposition of Custody Cases: Mediation Orientation Session.
(a). In any custody action the parties shall within forty-five (45) days of the date of filing of the pleading raising the custody claim attend the Court-approved mediation orientation session, as provided for in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1940.3 and 17CV1940.3. The mediation orientation session shall be completed before any hearing is scheduled before the Court.
(b) The term ''custody action'' includes: any action for divorce containing a claim for custody, partial custody, or visitation; any initial action for custody, partial custody, or visitation; any counterclaim for custody, partial custody, or visitation; any petition for modification of an existing custody order; and any petition for contempt in regard to an existing order of custody.
(c) The parties governed by these rules include parents, persons in loco parentis, and grandparents.
(c). At the time of filing of the custody action there shall be submitted to the Court an orientation session Order containing the case caption which shall be substantially in the following form:
MEDIATION ORIENTATION SESSION ORDER
AND NOW, this ______ day of ______ , 2______ , it is hereby ORDERED that that the above-named parties shall within ten (10) days of the date of receipt of a copy of this Order contact the Court-approved Mediation Program Administrator at ____-____-____ to schedule a mediation orientation session, such session to be conducted within forty-five (45) days of the filing date of the custody pleading accompanying this Order. No hearing shall be scheduled before the Court until the mediation orientation session has been completed.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE FOREGOING ORDER MAY RESULT IN THE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS (INCLUDING A DISMISSAL OF THE CUSTODY ACTION, DENIAL OF A HEARING, OR AWARD OF COUNSEL FEES) AND/OR A FINDING OF CONTEMPT.
BY THE COURT:
(c). After the Mediation Orientation Session Order has been signed by the Court and filed of record the filing party shall, in addition to making service of any pleading filed by the party as required by law, at the same time and in the same manner serve a copy of the said Order on any other party. The filing party shall immediately file a proof of service with the Court. The Court shall be responsible for sending a copy of the Mediation Orientation Session Order to the Mediation Program Administrator.
(d). Each party shall contact the court-approved Mediation Program Administrator at the phone number set forth in the Mediation Orientation Session Order to schedule their attendance at the orientation session.
17CV1940.3. Order for Orientation Session.
(a). Except as set forth in subsection (e) or otherwise ordered by the Court all parties to a custody action shall participate in a mediation orientation session pursuant to 17CV1915.4. The mediation orientation session shall be completed before any hearing is scheduled before the Court.
(b). A mediation orientation session is an initial meeting between the parties and a qualified mediator which is intended to educate the parties concerning the mediation process so that an informed choice can be made by the parties about participation in mediation. The mediation orientation session shall be considered part of the mediation process and shall be confidential.
(c). The Mediation Program Administrator shall immediately notify the Court upon the occurrence of any of the following events:
(1). A party fails to contact the Mediation Program Administrator within the ten (10) day period provided in the Mediation Orientation Session Order;
(2). A party does not appear for a scheduled orientation session;
(3). The parties are unable to complete either the orientation session or mediation.
(e). No orientation session shall be required if a party or a child of a party is or has been the subject of domestic violence or child abuse by another party either during the pendency of the custody action or within 24 months preceding the filing of the custody action.
17CV1940.5. Duties of the Mediator.
(a). All mediation communications and mediation documents, as those terms are defined in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5949, are privileged.
(b). No party, mediator, or other person who participates in mediation may be called as a witness, or otherwise compelled to reveal any matter disclosed in mediation.
2. The rule shall become effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
3. The Court Administrator of the 17th Judicial District is ordered and directed to do the following:
3.1. File seven (7) certified copies of this Order and of the pertinent Rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
3.2. File two (2) certified copies and a computer diskette containing this Order and the pertinent Rule with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
3.3. File one (1) certified copy of this Order and the pertinent Rule with the Civil Procedural Rules Committee.
3.4. Provide one (1) copy of this Order and the Local Rule to each member of the Union-Snyder County Bar Association who maintains an active practice in Union or Snyder Counties.
3.5. Keep continuously available for public inspection, copies of this Order and the Local Rules.
By the Court
HAROLD F. WOELFEL, Jr.,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-1099. Filed for public inspection June 19, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]
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