Welcome to the County of Berks

1. If I don't have an attorney, where can I go to find out more about mediation?

The Law Library on the tenth floor of the Courthouse has a Program Instruction Package available that may be copied for a small charge per page. This information will take you step-by-step through the procedures you must follow under the new program.

2. What if I have been a victim of domestic violence and do not want to mediate?

The Program Instruction Package will inform you of what you need to do in this situation. The necessary forms you will need are also available in the Law Library.

3. How do I prepare for mediation?

You may choose to seek legal advice to understand your rights and how the decision you reach in mediation might affect your rights in your divorce and support cases, if any. You may give considerable reflection to the best interests of your child(ren) and how those interests could be met through cooperative co-parenting.

4. Is mediation only for custody matters?

No, mediation is also permissible for divorce and support matters, with the agreement of both parties.

5. Do I need to bring my attorney to mediation?

Attorney participation in mediation is not required as the goal of mediation is to encourage the parties to resolve their issues themselves in an informal manner.

6. Should I bring anyone to the mediation session?

It is not necessary to bring anyone along with you. Mediation is not a time for taking testimony nor for presenting evidence. It is a time for private discussions.

7. What if we don't reach an agreement in the orientation session?

You may continue in mediation with the assigned mediator. You can make arrangements directly with that mediator for further sessions. If you want to continue mediating, but with a different mediator, you may ask your assigned mediator for the Roster of Court Approved Mediators and you may contact a mediator from the list to arrange for additional sessions. It will be your responsibility to pay the mediator directly, in accordance with his or her hourly rate. The fees you paid at the time of filing do not cover these additional sessions. You can request that your Conciliation Conference be continued to give you more time to try to mediate an agreement.

8. What if it looks like we won't be able to reach an agreement?

The parties will then attend the Conciliation Conference that has already been scheduled for them. The Custody Master, who is an attorney, will try to conciliate an agreement. If the parties are unable to do this, the Master will submit a recommendation to the assigned judge.

9. Do you have daycare available?

There are no babysitting services available at the Courthouse. You are asked not to bring children with you.

10. Do you have security?

The Mediation Orientation Sessions are held on the first floor of the Courthouse in Hearing Rooms 1A and 1B, to the right of, and directly adjacent to, the security entrance of the Courthouse, where security guards are on duty at all times.

11. Who do I contact if I have any special needs, problems or questions?

Call the Family Court Administrator's Office, at (610) 478-6208 ext. 5772 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and ask to speak to the Mediation Coordinator.