Family Separation & Divorce


9th Judicial District

Harvey County & McPherson County, Kansas

The Dispute Resolution Triage Program

If you are involved in a court matter related to family separation and divorce, including a parenting dispute, you may be required to take certain steps as part of the court’s Dispute Resolution Triage Program.  Click here to view the court rule (LOCAL RULE 12) that governs the Program, as well as the template forms used to administer the Program.
The Community Mediation Center (CMC) administers the Triage Program. We have prepared this page to help explain how the program works, and what you may be required to do.

Your First Step: Divorce Impact Education

Most newly-separating or divorcing parents are required to attend a CMC-approved Divorce Impact Education class (“Parents Forever”). This two-hour class focuses on the impact of divorce/separation on your family, yourself and your child(ren). You have sixty (60) days to attend the class.

You may also attend this class voluntarily and it is open to all separating or divorcing parents no matter where they live.

parents forever

Divorce Impact Education Class (Parents Forever)

  • Second THURSDAY of every month
    at McPherson College - Melhorn Hall, Room 112
    1600 E. Euclid,
    McPherson, KS
    McPherson Campus Map
    5:15pm - 7:15pm
  • Fourth TUESDAY of every month
    at Community Mediation Center
    2515 College Ave.,
    North Newton, KS
    5:15pm - 7:15pm

Next Steps: Dispute Resolution

If you and the other parent cannot resolve your parenting issues on your own, the Judge will direct you to contact the CMC to try a Dispute Resolution (DR) service. These services are provided by CMC’s panel of specially-trained DR professionals, and include:

Mediation: In mediation, you and the other parent meet face-to-face with a mediator who guides you through a confidential and non-coercive process. The goal is to help parents make their own decisions and develop parenting plans that work best for their child(ren). Mediated agreements are then filed with the court. If there is no agreement, CMC will review the case and determine whether further DR services would be helpful.

Limited Case Management (LCM): Cases referred to LCM often involve higher conflict and/or more complex issues than those sent to mediation. LCM is NOT a confidential process, although you and the other parent will still meet face-to-face and work with a limited case manager in ways similar to mediation. Unlike mediation, if you and the other parent don’t reach agreement, the case manager must make a recommendation to the court.

Brief Focused Assessment (BFA): Cases referred to BFA involve significantly more conflict and complexity. This is NOT a confidential process and parents are not brought face-to-face. Rather, the assessor will conduct interviews and research, then make recommendations to the court.

How do I participate in the dispute resolution process?

You have seven (7) days from the date the Judge issues the order for DR to call the Community Mediation Center and arrange for the following:

  1. Take a self-directed online educational course for divorcing or separating parents (, print out your completed materials and provide them to CMC.
  2. Provide recent pay stubs or other proof of income since fees for DR services are based on annual gross income.
  3. Participate in a confidential assessment interview. This assessment assists CMC in identifying the level of conflict and complexity of issues so we can match your family situation with the appropriate DR service, in accordance with evidence-based practices. Assessments are scheduled in both Harvey and McPherson counties and take about an hour. Co-parents are assessed at the same time, unless safety factors require otherwise. Once the assessment is complete, CMC will notify you, the court, and your attorney (if you have one) which DR service is recommended for your case. You will be given a schedule for your initial meetings and notice of the required service fee.

How long will the dispute resolution process take?

It depends... on the complexity of issues, the calendars of everyone involved (including the DR Specialist and the Court), and also the responsiveness of you and your co-parent. In general, CMC tries to conduct assessment interviews within a week after being contacted, and usually is able to issue a DR service recommendation a few days later. Anticipate a minimum of 4-6 weeks from the start of a DR service to completion, but remember that more complex cases will require more time.

In any event, please remember that these are court-ordered services and you may need to alter your work and/or personal schedule to complete the process in a timely manner.

What is H.O.P.E.?


H.O.P.E. stands for Healthy Opportunities for Parenting Effectively. The program is designed to educate parents on ways they can improve their co-parenting skills while always keeping a focus on their child(ren)’s needs. Each H.O.P.E. session consists of four (4) classes that run three (3) hours each,. Sessions are offered in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

Parents who file new parenting motions after the original court judgment has been issued will be required to attend a H.O.P.E. session. The Judge, limited case manager, or brief focused assessor in your case may also order or recommend that you and the other parent attend a H.O.P.E. session. You may also choose to attend voluntarily.

For information on Fall, Spring or Summer Sessions, or to Register for a Session, go to:

How much will all of this cost me?

Divorce Impact Education class: $75 per person
CMC Assessment Interview: $50 per person
H.O.P.E. session: $100 per person
DR Services: Sliding scale approved by the court, based on annual gross income (see scale)

CMC Contact Information

Community Mediation Center
2515 College Avenue
P.O. Box 276
North Newton, KS 67117




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  • "I was dreading coming today and cried myself to sleep last night since I was afraid we’d just be fighting and yelling at each other like we always do. I can’t believe that we were actually able to talk with each other and work out some things for our kids."
    - Statement made by a CMC mediation client
  • "I think we’ve talked more in these two sessions than we had all together in the past 15 years! Now that we’re talking again, maybe we’ll be able to do it more on our own."
    - Statement made by a CMC mediation client
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