Under the authority vested in this Court to provide by rule for the procedure employed in all courts of this state and this Court's inherent authority to supervise the administration of all courts of this state, Indiana Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule 2.7(A)(6) is amended to clarify the requirements for a victim of domestic or family violence to attend mediation sessions as follows (deletions shown by striking and new text shown by underlining):
Rule 2.7. Mediation Procedure
(A) Advisement of Participants. The mediator shall:
(1) advise the parties of all persons whose presence at mediation might facilitate settlement; and
(2) in child related matters, ensure that the parties consider fully the best interests of the children and that the parties understand the consequences of any decision they reach concerning the children; and
(3) inform all parties that the mediator (a) is not providing legal advice, (b) does not represent either party, (c) cannot determine how the court would apply the law or rule in the parties' case, or what the outcome of the case would be if the dispute were to go before the court, and (d) recommends that the parties seek or consult with their own legal counsel if they desire, or believe they need legal advice; and
(4) explain the difference between a mediator's role and a lawyer's role when a mediator knows or reasonably should know that a party does not understand the mediator's role in the matter; and
(5) not advise any party (i) what that party should do in the specific case, or (ii) whether a party should accept an offer; and
(6) advise a party who self-identifies or who the mediator identifies as a victim after screening for domestic or family violence, also known as intimate partner violence or abuse, or coercive control (hereinafter, “domestic violence”) that the party will only not be required to be present at mediation sessions in accordance with Rule 2.7(B)(1) below.
(B) Mediation Conferences.
(1) The parties and their attorneys shall be present at all mediation sessions involving domestic relations proceedings unless otherwise agreed. At the discretion of the mediator, non-parties to the dispute may also be present. A party who self-identifies or who the mediator identifies as a victim after screening for domestic violence shall be permitted to have a support person present at all mediation sessions. The mediator may terminate the mediation at any time when a participant becomes disruptive to the mediation process.
This amendment shall take effect upon the date of this Order.
Done at Indianapolis, Indiana, on 2/9/2017.
Loretta H. Rush, Chief Justice of Indiana
All Justices concur.