Alternative dispute resolution fund; copayment for services; prohibition on mediation
Sec. 2. (a) In each county participating in the program under this chapter, there is established an alternative dispute resolution fund for each of the following:
(1) The circuit court.
(2) The superior court.
(3) The probate court established by IC 33-31-1.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), if more than one (1) court exercises jurisdiction over domestic relations and paternity cases in a county, one (1) alternative dispute resolution fund may be established to be used by all the courts to implement this chapter if:
(A) county auditor; and
(B) judge of each court that exercises jurisdiction over domestic relations and paternity cases in the county;
agree to establish one (1) fund; and
(2) the agreement to establish the fund is included in the plan adopted by the county under section 3 of this chapter.
(c) The sources of money for each fund established under subsection (a) or (b) are:
(1) the alternative dispute resolution fee collected under section 1 of this chapter for the circuit court, superior court, or probate court, respectively; and
(2) copayments collected under subsection (d) if:
(A) a county chooses to deposit the copayments into the fund; and
(B) the county specifies in the plan adopted by the county under section 3 of this chapter that the copayments will be deposited in the fund.
(d) The funds shall be used to foster domestic relations alternative
dispute resolution, including:
(3) nonbinding arbitration; and
(4) parental counseling.
Litigants referred by the court to services covered by the fund shall make a copayment for the services in an amount determined by the court based on the litigants' ability to pay. The fund shall be administered by the circuit, superior, or probate court that exercises jurisdiction over domestic relations and paternity cases in the county. A fund used by multiple courts under subsection (b) shall be administered jointly by all the courts using the fund. Money in each fund at the end of a fiscal year does not revert to the county general fund but remains in the fund for the uses specified in this section.
(e) Each circuit, superior, or probate court that administers an alternative dispute resolution fund shall ensure that money in the fund is disbursed in a manner that primarily benefits those litigants who have the least ability to pay, in accordance with the plan adopted by the county under section 3 of this chapter.
(f) A court may not order parties into mediation or refer parties to mediation if a party is currently charged with or has been convicted of a crime:
(1) under IC 35-42; or
(2) in another jurisdiction that is substantially similar to the elements of a crime described in IC 35-42.
As added by P.L.98-2004, SEC.2. Amended by P.L.55-2005, SEC.1.
Plan; judicial approval
Sec. 3. (a) A county desiring to participate in the program under this chapter must:
(1) develop a plan to carry out the purposes of section 2 of this chapter that is approved by a majority of the judges in the county exercising jurisdiction over domestic relations and paternity cases; and
(2) submit the plan to the judicial conference of Indiana.
(b) The plan under subsection (a) must include:
(1) information concerning how the county proposes to carry out the purposes of the domestic relations alternative dispute resolution fund as set out in section 2 of this chapter; and
(2) a method of ensuring that the money in the alternative dispute resolution fund is disbursed in a manner that primarily benefits those litigants who have the least ability to pay.
The plan may include the use of senior judges as mediators in domestic relations cases as assigned by the supreme court. The judicial conference of Indiana may request additional information from the county as necessary.
As added by P.L.98-2004, SEC.2.