(1) Whenever a landowner desires to construct a division fence or perform maintenance or repairs to an existing division fence, such landowner shall give written notice of such intention to any person who is liable for the construction, maintenance, or repair of the division fence. Such notice may be served upon any nonresident by delivering the written notice to the occupant of the land or the landowner's agent in charge of the land. The written notice shall request that the person liable for the construction, maintenance, or repair satisfy his or her obligation by performance or by other manner of contribution. After giving written notice, a landowner may commence construction of a division fence, or commence maintenance or repair upon an existing division fence, in which cases any cause of action under this section and sections 34-102 , 34-112 , and 34-112.01 shall be an action for contribution.
(2) If notice is given prior to commencing construction, maintenance, or repair of a division fence and the person so notified either fails to respond to such request or refuses such request, the landowner sending notice may commence an action in the county court of the county where the land is located. If the landowners cannot agree what proportion of a division fence each shall construct, maintain, or repair, whether by performance or by contribution, either landowner may commence an action, without further written notice, in the county court of the county where the land is located. An action shall be commenced by filing a fence dispute complaint on a form prescribed by the State Court Administrator and provided to the plaintiff by the clerk of the county court. The complaint shall be executed by the plaintiff in the presence of a judge, a clerk or deputy or assistant clerk of a county court, or a notary public or other person authorized by law to take acknowledgments and be accompanied by the fee provided in section 33-123 . A party shall not commence an action under this subsection until thirty days after giving notice under subsection (1) of this section and shall commence the action within one year after giving such notice.
(3) Upon filing of a fence dispute complaint, the court shall set a time for hearing and shall cause notice to be served upon the defendant. Notice shall be served not less than five days before the time set for hearing. Notice shall consist of a copy of the complaint and a summons directing the defendant to appear at the time set for hearing and informing the defendant that if he or she fails to appear, judgment will be entered against him or her. Notice shall be served in the manner provided for service of a summons in a civil action. If the notice is to be served by certified mail, the clerk shall provide the plaintiff with written instructions, prepared and provided by the State Court Administrator, regarding the proper procedure for service by certified mail. The cost of service shall be paid by the plaintiff, but such cost and filing fee shall be added to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff.
(4) In any proceeding under this section, subsequent to the initial filing, the parties shall receive from the clerk of the court information regarding availability of mediation through the farm mediation service of the Department of Agriculture or the state mediation centers as established through the Office of Dispute Resolution. Development of the informational materials and the implementation of this subsection shall be accomplished through the State Court Administrator. With the consent of both parties, a court may refer a case to mediation and may state a date for the case to return to court, but such date shall be no longer than ninety days from the date the order is signed unless the court grants an extension. If the parties consent to mediate and if a mediation agreement is reached, the court shall enter the agreement as the judgment in the action. The costs of mediation shall be shared by the parties according to the schedule of fees established by the mediation service and collected directly by the mediation service.
(5) If the case is not referred to mediation or if mediation is terminated or fails to reach an agreement between the parties, the action shall proceed as a civil action subject to the rules of civil procedure.
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