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Guide to Implementing Divorce Mediation Services in the Public Sector (From Final Report of the Divorce Mediation Research Project, 1984 - See NCJ-98054)

NCJ Number
E A Comeaus
Date Published
70 pages
This paper identifies four issues that must be addressed before divorce mediation services can be initiated in the public sector: (1) the role of government mediation services, (2) the legal authority for the mediation service, (3) the service structure that maximizes administrative and cost effectiveness, and (4) the specific procedures that govern the mediation service.
Its conclusions are based on a survey of court-related divorce mediation programs nationwide and on indepth site studies of three programs. The study found that the government may assume one of several roles in the organization and operation of public-sector mediation services, including facilitating, encouraging, providing, and mandating services. The legislative branch may provide authority for such services through explicit or implicit statutes and through county ordinances. The Judicial Branch may provide authority through Supreme Court rules, local court rules and administrative orders, and ad hoc judicial orders. The Executive Branch may provide authority through agency policies, rules, or executive orders. Public-sector mediation programs may be administered by judicial departments, child support enforcement agencies, public mediation agencies, or departments offering support services to domestic relations courts, such as family and marital counseling, custody investigations, and enforcement of support orders. Alternatively, public mediation services may be provided by contracting with a private agency. Procedures governing the mediation service should include definitions of mediation, eligibility for mediation, privacy and confidentiality policies, and mediator qualifications. Included are 238 notes.