Request for joint custody of children
(1)When either party to a child custody issue, other than one involving temporary custody, whether the issue arises from a case of marital annulment, dissolution or separation, or from a determination of parentage, requests the court to grant joint custody of the minor children of the parties under ORS 107.105 (Provisions of judgment), the court, if the other party objects to the request for joint custody, shall proceed under this section. The request under this subsection must be made, in the petition or the response, or otherwise not less than 30 days before the date of trial in the case, except for good cause shown. The court in such circumstances, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, shall direct the parties to participate in mediation in an effort to resolve their differences concerning custody. The court may order such participation in mediation within a mediation program established by the court or as conducted by any mediator approved by the court. Unless the court or the county provides a mediation service available to the parties, the court may order that the costs of the mediation be paid by one or both of the parties, as the court finds equitable upon consideration of the relative ability of the parties to pay those costs. If, after 90 days, the parties do not arrive at a resolution of their differences, the court shall proceed to determine custody.
(2)At its discretion, the court may:
(a)Order mediation under this section prior to trial and postpone trial of the case pending the outcome of the mediation, in which case the issue of custody shall be tried only upon failure to resolve the issue of custody by mediation;
(b)Order mediation under this section prior to trial and proceed to try the case as to issues other than custody while the parties are at the same time engaged in the mediation, in which case the issue of custody shall be tried separately upon failure to resolve the issue of custody by mediation; or
(c)Complete the trial of the case on all issues and order mediation under this section upon the conclusion of the trial, postponing entry of the judgment pending outcome of the mediation, in which case the court may enter a limited judgment as to issues other than custody upon completion of the trial or may postpone entry of any judgment until the expiration of the mediation period or agreement of the parties as to custody.
(3)If either party objects to mediation on the grounds that to participate in mediation would subject the party to severe emotional distress and moves the court to waive mediation, the court shall hold a hearing on the motion. If the court finds it likely that participation in mediation will subject the party to severe emotional distress, the court may waive the requirement of mediation.
(4)Communications made by or to a mediator or between parties as a part of mediation ordered under this section are privileged and are not admissible as evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. [1987 c.795 §13; 2003 c.576 §116; 2017 c.651 §13]
Section 107.179 — Request for joint custody of children; mediation,