By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

The Middle East is an unlikely place for amicable settlements, but Israel just enacted new laws to help couples create divorce agreements by requiring them to mediate before filing in court.

Ynet, an Israeli paper, discusses the regulations. The rules – which include both mediation and educational components – are a part of Israel’s Resolution of Family Disputes Law, and were suggested by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

I’ve written about mediation in the past. Mediation is a process where a neutral, third person – called a mediator – encourages and facilitates resolving your case. Consider it an informal meeting in which the goal is to reach a voluntary agreement.

Under Israel’s new regulations, any married individual approaching divorce – who wishes to file a couple’s dispute claim – will first have to submit a request asking to resolve the conflict.

The request will then be directed to the court’s social services unit, which will invite both parties to participate in 4 mediatory sessions without lawyers.

As part of the mediation, couples will receive information on the mediation process itself and on the legal proceedings that await them in case they do not reach an agreement.

In addition, couples taking part in the mediation will learn about the possible impacts that ongoing disputes can have on any children involved, and are guided to reach an agreement concerning child support, custody and property division.

The meetings will be free of charge, with the mediators being civil servants, most of them lawyers or social workers.

During the mediation period, both parties will not be allowed to file claims against one another, apart from requests for temporary relief aimed at keeping the status quo or requests for emergency relief.

If both parties do not reach an agreement, whichever party had initiated the proceedings will be allowed to submit a claim to the relevant court to discuss the matter further, while being allowed to continue the mediation process if they so choose.

Any additional meetings beyond this point will come at a cost, though it has been agreed upon that it will not be high. The new regulations will be instated for three years, during which their efficiency will be examined.

As the Minister of Justice said:

We need to remember that parental disputes cause damage especially for the children, and that it is our duty to protect them.

The Ynet article can be found here.

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