Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



During Fiscal Year 2020, the Parent Mediation Program (PMP) operated in its usual fashion, providing services to eligible parties referred by Probate & Family Court Divisions and non-court sources until March 16, 2020 when non-emergency access to the court was curtailed, and constraints on inter-personal contact were urged due to the coronavirus pandemic. All community mediation centers participating in the PMP offered parties the opportunity to mediate remotely, and perhaps as many as 24 cases were mediated remotely. An agreement rate of 89% and a parenting-plan development rate of 79% were produced by PMP mediation in FY 2020, at or more than the upper end of the range of agreement rates typically generated by divorce mediation. The PMP also increased access to justice by providing indigent parties and parties who were denied access to the courts because of pandemic concerns with dispute resolution assistance that met these parties’ legal need for solutions to their parenting disputes. Mediation helped most parties improve their interactions with one another, such as bettering communication, reducing conflict, and increasing civility. For minorities of interviewed parents, their interactions were better after a four-ten week interval following mediation. Notwithstanding the centrality of child-related issues to PMP mediation, only minorities of parties acknowledged progress at their mediation sessions with respect to child-related issues that concerned access, visitation, parent’s time with the child, the other parent’s involvement with the child, and parent participation in the child’s education or extra-curricular activities. PMP services won the approval of over 90% of participating parties.



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