§ 15-5-29. Mediation proceedings involving custody and/or visitation.
(a) Where, in any petition for divorce, divorce from bed and board, or relief without the commencement of divorce proceedings, the family court may, as to issues of custody and visitation, direct the parties to participate in mediation in an effort to resolve their differences, the court may order the participation in mediation in a program established by the court.
(b) At its discretion, the court may:
(1) Order mediation under this section prior to trial and postpone trial of the case pending the outcome of the mediation, in which case the issues of custody and visitation shall be tried only upon failure to resolve the issues of custody by mediation;
(2) Order mediation under this section prior to trial and proceed to try the case as to issues other than custody and visitation while the parties are at the same time engaged in the mediation, in which the issue of custody shall be tried separately upon failure to resolve the issues; and
(3) Complete the trial of the case on all issues and order mediation under this section upon the conclusion of the trial, postponing entry of the decree pending outcome of the mediation, in which case the court may enter a temporary decree as to issues other than custody any visitation upon completion of the trial or may postpone entry of any decree until the expiration of the mediation period of agreement of the parties.
(c) Communications made by or to a mediator or between parties in the presence of the mediator as a part of mediation ordered under this section are privileged and are not admissible as evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding.
(P.L. 1988, ch. 422, § 1.)