Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Indiana Alternative Dispute Resolution Fund in Domestic Relations Cases

Nosing around the Indiana Judiciary Site and I ran across Alternative Dispute Resolution Fund in Domestic Relations Cases. No, I am not familiar with this program.

Another page offers the following background to the program:

The Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1034 in 2003, authorizing for the first time the creation of alternate dispute resolution programs in domestic relations cases in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. The act was effective on July 1, 2003. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Program in Domestic Relations cases under Indiana Code § 33-23-6 permits a county to collect a $20.00 fee from a party filing for a legal separation, paternity or dissolution case. This fee is placed in a separate fund and may be used for mediation, reconciliation, nonbinding arbitration and parental counseling in the county in which it is collected. Money in the fund must primarily benefit litigants who have the least ability to pay. Litigants with current charges or a former conviction of certain crimes relating to domestic violence are excluded from participating.

Counties wishing to participate in an ADR program must develop an ADR plan that is consistent with the statute and that is approved by a majority of the counties’ judges with jurisdiction over domestic relations and paternity cases. The Executive Director of the Indiana Supreme Court, Division of State Court Administration must approve the plan, in accordance with ADR Rule 1.11. The counties are required to file an annual report summarizing the ADR program each year (see annual report form on this site.) Currently there are twenty-five counties with approved ADR plans.

The page also has a map showing the counties where an ADR program has been approved. I see none in the counties I usually have cases.

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