The Probate & Family Court Onsite Mediation Program (Program) was designed to assist parents, referred by Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) attorneys and court judges and staff, with the resolution of parenting disputes by providing subsidized mediation services, free of charge to parties, at Probate & Family Court sites. The goal of the Program was to expedite the disposition of cases in the Probate & Family Court (P&F Court) by helping parties resolve parenting and child welfare issues in addition to child support and eliminate the need to file separate actions and minimize the number of necessary court appearances. The implementation of this multi-organization, multi-site program to deliver mediation services to divorcing or separating parties involved the coordination and performance of tasks by the court, the DOR, community mediation centers, and the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration. During the period July 2019 through March 2020, the value that the Program contributed to disputing parties as well as to the court and the DOR resided, to an important extent, in the resolution of disputes in referred cases by means of a process that won the approval of a majority of participating disputants. Furthermore, participating stakeholders indicated that the Program contributed to assorted institutional or system-level achievements that accrued to the organizations involved with the program, including gains in efficiency.
Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration. (2020, July). Probate & Family Court Onsite Mediation Program: Fiscal Year 2020 Implementation & Evaluation Report. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy & Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston