How Do I Get the Other Side to Mediate In Minnesota Custody or Divorce Case?

mailboxMinnesota Court orders for divorces and other Minnesota family law matters most always include a mediation provision. The mediation provision sets out a requirement that both parties in the legal proceeding must attempt mediation before either of them may return to Court.  The foregoing exempts emergency situations.

Simply stated- if Party A wants to modify parenting time or custody or address some change in the parenting plan or otherwise request an order from the Court, then Party A  has to ask Party B to mediate before Party A can go to Court.

How do you ask the other side to mediate in a Minnesota divorce or Minnesota family law matter like custody, parenting time changes, or parenting plan changes?

  • Organize your Court paperwork and confirm the mediation provision in the Court’s order.
  • Organize your thoughts and outline the changes that you want to present to the other party and, eventually to the Court.
  • Prepare a letter inviting the other side to mediate and reference the mediation provision in the Court’s order.
  • Set a reasonable deadline for the other party’s response to your letter.
  • Mail the request to mediate letter to the other party at his or her mailing address by regular mail.  The law presumes delivery if the letter is not returned and it contained the correct address. Mailing the letter certified is not necessary.
  • Keep a copy of the letter for yourself because you will eventually attach the letter as an exhibit to the Court to show that you did comply with the mediation provision.
  • If there is no response to your first letter, then mail a second and set another deadline.  Two letters will substantiate your position to the Court that you really tried to get the other party into mediation
  • It is easier to text message or e-mail your request to mediate, but an old-fashioned letter is the best evidence.

What do you do if the other Party says he or she will mediate.

  • Agree upon a mediator.
  • Set a date and time.
  • Mediate your dispute to resolution and have the change drafted in an agreement/ Court order signed by both parties and file it with the Court.
  • If you cannot agree, then you have met your obligation under the mediation provision and you may proceed to Court with your requested change.

What do you do if the other party does not respond to your request to mediate?

  • Prepare your motion and requests for your changes for filing with the Court following all Court requirements for Minnesota divorce, custody, parenting time modifications of orders.
  • Attach true and correct copies of your letters to the other side asking that he or she mediate marked as exhibits to your affidavit.
  • Include a paragraph in your affidavit that you wrote the letters and mailed the letters to the correct address and have had no response from the other party.

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Child Custody, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

What to know how to proceed?  Call me at 320-492-3606 or e-mail me via

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