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Rule 310.Alternative Dispute Resolution

Rule 310.01Applicability

(a)When ADR Required.

All family law matters in district court are subject to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes as established in Rule 114, except for:

1. actions enumerated in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 518B (Domestic Abuse Act),

2. contempt actions, and

3. maintenance, support, and parentage actions when the public agency responsible for child support enforcement is a party or is providing services to a party with respect to the action.

(b) ADR When There Is Domestic Abuse.

The court shall not require parties to participate in any facilitative process where one of the parties claims to be the victim of domestic abuse by the other party or where the court determines there is probable cause that one of the parties or a child of the parties has been physically abused or threatened with physical abuse by the other party. In circumstances where the court is satisfied that the parties have been advised by counsel and have agreed to an ADR process established in Rule 114 that will not require face-to-face meeting of the parties, the court may direct that the ADR process be used.

The court shall not require parties to attempt ADR if they have previously engaged in an ADR process under Rule 114 with a qualified neutral and reached an impasse.

(Amended effective July 1, 1997; amended effective May 1, 2012.)

Advisory Committee Comment - 1996 Amendment

This rule is changed from a limited rule dealing only with mediation to the main family law rule governing use of ADR. All of the provisions of the existing rule are deleted because their subject matter is now governed by either the amended rule or Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 114.

The committee believes that there are significant and compelling reasons to have all court-annexed ADR governed by a single rule. This will streamline the process and make it more cost-effective for litigants, and will also make the process easier to understand for ADR providers and neutrals, many of whom are not lawyers.

The rule is not intended to discourage settlement efforts in any action. In cases where any party has been, or claims to have been, a victim of domestic violence, however, courts need to be especially cautious. Facilitative processes, particularly mediation, are especially prone to abuse since they place the parties in direct contact and may encourage them to compromise their rights in situations where their independent decision-making capacity is limited. The rule accordingly prohibits their use where those concerns are present.

Rule 310.02Post-Decree Matters

The court may order ADR under Rule 114 in matters involving post-decree relief. The parties shall discuss the use of ADR as part of the conference required by Rule 303.03(c).

(Amended effective July 1, 1997.)

Advisory Committee Comment - 1996 Amendment

This rule expressly provides for use of ADR in post-decree matters. This is appropriate because such matters constitute a significant portion of the litigation in family law and because these matters are often quite susceptible to successful resolution in ADR.

The committee believes the existing mechanism requiring the parties to confer before filing any motion other than a motion for temporary relief provides a suitable mechanism for considering ADR and Rule 303.03(c) is amended to remind the parties of this obligation.

Rules 310.03-310.09(Deleted effective July 1, 1997.)