No. It doesn’t matter if you are the petitioner (the party who files the papers) or the respondent.
My spouse and I have a history of domestic abuse. Do we have to mediate?
No. If domestic abuse has occurred between you and your spouse, you are not required to mediate.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, a neutral third party will perform a custody evaluation.
Generally speaking, the evaluator meets with you, your spouse, and the children. By interviewing you, your spouse, your children, and other people close to you, the evaluator issues a report based on the best interests of the children standard.
Generally speaking, the evaluator meets with and interviews you, your spouse, your children, and other individuals close to you and your family. The evaluator makes a recommendation based on the interviews and uses the best interests of the children standard. The best interests standard is based on Minnesota statute and consists of 13 factors:
• You and your spouse's wishes;
• The children's wishes, depending on their ages;
• The children's primary caregiver;
• The intimacy of the parent-child relationship
• The children's interaction and interrelationship with each other, you and your spouse, and other significant people;
• The children's adjustment to home, school, and the community;
• The length of time the child has resided in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability to maintain continuity;
• The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed parental home;
• The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
• Your capacity and disposition and your spouse's capacity and disposition to give the children love, affection, and guidance and to continue educating the children in their culture and religion, if any;
• The children's cultural background;
• If domestic abuse has occurred, the affect it has had on the children; and
• Except where a finding of domestic abuse is made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the children.
It is process for resolving family law matters in a dignified manner and without the courts.