Rule 1940.2. Definitions.
As used in this Chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
Mediation, the confidential process by which a neutral mediator assists the parties in attempting to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on issues arising in a custody action. Mediation is not a court proceeding; rather, it is an independent, non-record proceeding in lieu of court involvement for the purpose of assisting the parties to address the childs best interest. An agreement reached by the parties must be based on the voluntary decisions of the parties and not the decision of the mediator. The agreement may resolve all or only some of the disputed issues. The parties are required to mediate in good faith but are not compelled to reach an agreement. While mediation is an alternative means of conflict resolution, it is not a substitute for the benefit of legal advice. The participants in mediation shall be limited to the parties to the custody action, primarily the childs parents and persons acting as parents. Except as provided in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1940.5(c), non-parties, including children, grandparents, and the parties attorneys, shall not participate in the mediation.
See Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.1 for the definition of a person acting as a parent.
Memorandum of Understanding, the written document prepared by a mediator that contains and summarizes the resolution reached by the parties during mediation. A Memorandum of Understanding is primarily for the benefit of the parties and is not legally binding on either party.
Orientation Session, the initial process of educating the parties on the mediation process so that they can make an informed choice about continued participation in mediation. This process may be mandated by the court and may be structured to include either group or individual sessions. An orientation session may also include an educational program for parents and children on the process of divorce and separation and the benefits of mediation in resolving custody disputes.
The provisions of this Rule 1940.2 amended February 8, 2018, effective April 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 1095. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (305183).
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