Mediating Parenting Solutions in the Age of Technology
23 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2021 Last revised: 5 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 4, 2021
In 2020, programs in all sectors underwent an unprecedented push towards virtual communication, enhanced accessibility and, in effect, the evolution of service delivery networks. In order to assess the effectiveness of virtual mediation as an additional option to in-person and phone mediation options, a research team conducted a case study of M.A.R.C.H. Inc. – Mediation Achieving Results for Children – a non-profit that provides mediation services to help parents resolve disputes involving custody, access and visitation, and child support throughout Missouri. The study utilized administrative data, client and mediator surveys, and interviews with mediators, parties, and parenting court stakeholders to compare quality, accessibility, engagement, outcomes, and satisfaction. The data indicates that the various formats of mediation offered by M.A.R.C.H. mediators met the needs of different clientele and were largely preferentially chosen by parents and mediators based on case characteristics. The study can also initiate conversations around measures of mediation and parenting court success, accessibility, and best practices in an age of technology.
Keywords: mediation, parent mediation, online dispute resolution, dispute resolution, family law, parenting court, courtroom technology, legal aid, alternative dispute resolution
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