Parent Mediation Program
Since 2008, with federal funding through the MA Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division, MOPC has been operating the MA Parent Mediation Program to resolve child access, visitation, and parenting plan disputes for families in Massachusetts. The Program is administered by MOPC in partnership with five community mediation centers across the state. The goal of the program is to increase parenting time for children in families where the parents are no longer together and wish to co-parent, and to promote cooperative parenting and increased understanding of children’s needs and interests.
Children whose parents are no longer together generally fare best when they have ongoing involvement from both parents and adjust more easily to changes if their parents work together to develop healthy ways of communicating, resolving problems, and reducing conflict. However, parents often experience conflict when establishing a parenting time schedule, due to the complexity of meeting the various needs of both children and parents as these needs evolve over time.
Mediation is an informal process that provides participants the opportunity to discuss their ongoing co-parenting and design a plan that works for everyone. Mediation is voluntary and confidential (Massachusetts General Law c.233, s.23C), and is usually less costly than going to court, both financially and emotionally. An impartial mediator helps parties better understand the issues, explore creative solutions, and reach agreements acceptable to all participants. The decision-making stays with the parents; the mediator does not tell people what to do or make judgments about who is right or wrong. Rather, the mediator supports participants in creating a durable parenting plan and developing communication skills to support healthy cooperation in the future.
The Parent Mediation Program is available for parents (biological and/or adoptive) who no longer live together or reside together but desire to move apart. At least one parent must be a Massachusetts resident. The mediation will primarily focus on parenting time, access, and visitation but may also involve other issues. Contact MOPC or one of the partnering community mediation centers to learn more about the eligibility criteria.
There is no cost to parties for the first four hours of mediation when discussing eligible parenting plan, access, and visitation issues. If other issues are part of the mediation, fees may be charged when discussing those issues. Please note that as the program year progresses, program funds may not be available to cover the four subsidized hours.
Mediation services are provided by qualified mediators at community mediation centers participating in the Parent Mediation Program. The centers support parties throughout the entire mediation process by conducting intakes, scheduling mediations, assigning, and supervising mediators, and following up with participants post-mediation.
Evaluation & Research
MOPC and participating community mediation centers work together in gathering and analyzing program data for evaluation and research to inform program implementation, development, public accountability, and fundraising. (For more information see MOPC website Research & Evaluation page [link].)
Deepika Madan, Program Manager, Deepika.email@example.com or (617) 287-3165
Connect with participating community mediation centers:
- Collaborative Resolutions Group: www.collaborativeresolutionsgroup.org
- Community Dispute Settlement Center: www.communitydispute.org
- Martha's Vineyard Mediation Program: www.mvmediation.org
- MetroWest Mediation Services: www.metrowestmediationservices.org
- The Resolution Center: www.resolutionnorthshore.org
Parental Resources: Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement
For more information on the MA network of Community Mediation Centers see the Resolution Massachusetts website: https://www.resolutionma.org/our-centers.