PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Domestic Court Judge Jay Willis has announced a series of new education and support programs and services. The Court recently launched a public website offering free information about the Court, the types of cases heard there and access to all Court rules and required forms.
The web page can be accessed at www.SciotoDRCourt.com.
“This new online service will be a significant resource for helping families,” Willis said. “The judicial system is complex and can be overwhelming for people who’ve never had to deal with the courts before. This new website can help families face what is all too often a daunting experience.”
Willis said he also recently adopted two new rules for the Court creating new programs for Scioto County families in need of help.
“The first new rule implements a new mediation program offered free through the court,” Willis said.
Early Conflict Resolution is a mediation-type program offered to parents experiencing minor disagreements or problems with their current parenting plan. Willis said it is effective for parents who don’t need or want to file a formal motion with the court.
“My goal is to take the children out of the conflict as much as possible. This new program resolves conflicts before bringing them to court, in an effort to minimize the effects that parental conflicts and prolonged court involvement have on children,” Willis said. “It’s free of charge and available to all parties with children, who already have a court order pertaining to parenting issues.”
Examples of minor issues are transportation, school/extracurricular activities, scheduling issues, vacation time, and parent communication problems.
The second new rule in Willis’ Court will require all litigants with children seeking to terminate their marriage to complete an educational program regarding the impact divorce has on their children.
In conjunction with The Ohio State University Extension, beginning in August, Willis said he will offer the Successful Co-Parenting program, which will fulfill this requirement of parent education. The purpose of this research-based program is to assist parents in learning how to minimize the negative impact that separation or divorce proceedings may have on children.
“Many courts have had great success in offering these types of educational programs and seeing a direct correlation in a decrease of high-conflict custody matters,” Willis said.
Successful Co-Parenting will be offered one evening per month at the Scioto County Courthouse, 602 Seventh St., on the Third Floor in the Domestic Relations Courtroom. Pre-registration is required.
Willis said participants must pay a $25 non-refundable fee through the Scioto County Clerk of Courts’ office. Thereafter, parents with proof of registration deposit may call the court directly to register for the next available session, 740-355-8316.
Successful Co-Parenting will be offered on the following dates throughout 2012: Aug. 28 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sept.18 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Dec.18 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Successful Co-Parenting was developed by and is presented in conjunction with The Ohio State University Extension.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org