(a) Except as provided in subsections (b), (c) and (d), in any proceeding for divorce or separate maintenance, the court shall order the parties to participate in mediation.
(b) The court may waive or extend mediation pursuant to subsection (a) for reasons including, but not limited to:
(1) Any factor codified in § 36-6-409(4) ;
(2) Either party is unable to afford the cost of the mediation, unless the cost is waived or subsidized by the state or if the cost of mediation would be an unreasonable burden on either or both of the parties;
(3) The parties have entered into a written marital dissolution agreement or an agreed order resolving all of the pending issues in the divorce, except as provided in subsection (c);
(4) The parties have participated in a settlement conference presided over by the court or a special master;
(5) The court finds a substantial likelihood that mediation will result in an impasse; or
(6) For other cause found sufficient by the court.
(c) If the ground for the divorce is irreconcilable differences and the parties have filed with the court a properly executed marital dissolution agreement, and if there are minor children of the marriage, a properly executed parenting plan, the court shall not require the parties to attend mediation.
(d)(1) In any proceeding for divorce or separate support and maintenance, if an order of protection issued in or recognized by this state is in effect or there is a court finding of domestic abuse or any criminal conviction involving domestic abuse within the marriage that is the subject of the proceeding for divorce or separate support and maintenance, the court may order mediation or refer either party to mediation, only if:
(A) Mediation is agreed to by the victim of the alleged domestic or family violence;
(B) Mediation is provided by a certified mediator who is trained in domestic and family violence in a specialized manner that protects the safety of the victim; and
(C) The victim is permitted to have in attendance at mediation a supporting person of the victim's choice, including, but not limited to, an attorney or advocate. No victim may provide monetary compensation to a non-attorney advocate for attendance at mediation.
(2) Mediation conducted pursuant to subdivision (b)(1) shall be concluded and a report provided to the court no later than one hundred eighty (180) days from the date the complaint for divorce was filed.
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