Child Custody | Generations Program
Consistent with the Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dated April 1, 2020, this Court having originally declared a judicial emergency in the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania through April 14, 2020, President Judge Clark now declares that the judicial emergency be extended through May 8, 2020. The Fifth Judicial District Emergency Operations Plan dated March 26, 2020, as amended, shall remain in effect through the duration of the judicial emergency.
Additionally, in recognition of the likelihood that this judicial emergency may, of necessity, be extended through May 31, 2020, it is further ORDERED that any case postponed due to this emergency be scheduled after May 31, 2020, and that the suspension of the operation of Rule 600 be applied to those postponements, subject to constitutional limitations. Cases that can be resolved entirely through the use of Advanced Communication Technology may be postponed to a date prior to May 31, 2020.
The Generations program, part of the Child Custody Department, is a mandatory two-part
process for individuals involved in a custody dispute. This alternative dispute
resolution program includes an educational seminar for adults, an interactive group
for children ages six through fifteen, and a mediation orientation session. Classes
are held at the Family Law Center.
The adult education seminar of the Generations program is approximately three hours
in length and offers parents/caregivers the skills to reach their own resolution
on custody issues. The following topics are addressed:
- How to build a co-parenting relationship
- How to communicate and problem-solve
- How to help children cope effectively with their changing family
- Identify how parent/caregiver conflict can affect the behavior of children
- Understand that most children do best when they have the opportunity to know and
love both parents
- General overview of the mediation session
The children’s group serves children between the ages of six and fifteen years old.
Children are appropriately grouped by age so that they can identify and share with
peers similar experiences in their families. These groups are facilitated with activities,
discussions, art, music and play.
Child Custody Department
440 Ross Street, Suite 1030
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
The custody mediation session gives parents/caregivers an opportunity to meet with
a trained mediator to address issues related to meeting their child(ren)’s needs
and to formulate a custody arrangement. Neither children nor attorneys participate
in the mediation. Parties will meet with a mediator for two to two and a half hours
to discuss approaches to a successful parenting plan. The goal of mediation is for
parents to create their own custody plan, called a Memorandum of Understanding.
Mediation is not therapy and does not include legal advice. Rather, the mediation
process encourages adults to work together and to be responsible for their own parenting
Mediation sessions are confidential with limited exceptions. The discussions during
mediation cannot be recorded or copied. The mediator cannot be required to testify
in court. Mediators are often members of the legal or mental health fields with
advanced degrees, in addition to having basic and ongoing advanced training in mediation.
- How do I prepare my child for the class?
Talk to your child regarding sharing their feelings about their family with friends
their own age.
- Will I be able to talk to the children’s’ facilitators
at the end of the class?
Children’s’ facilitators will be happy to discuss with you the activities your children
were involved in. However, they will not be able to provide you with specific comments
made by individual children.
- Who do I ask about special needs?
Call the Custody Department at 412-350-4311 for further information regarding your
- Do you have daycare available?
There is NO daycare available for the education seminar. Family Division provides
a children’s room for daycare purposes when parents attend their mediation session.
Quotes from parents and children who attended the Generations
- "I am glad that I attended the session. The Generations program is here to help
parents keep their children out of the middle."
- "This seminar really taught me some things that either I was unsure of or didn’t
know. On my way to the class, I was angry that I had to come. Now I’m so happy that
- "Thank you for an alternative to court."
The best thing that happened to me in class today was . . .
- "I got to talk and get the scary feelings out of my stomach." Age 6
- "The class taught me that it’s ok to have fun and not worry about the grownups."
- "I learned that it’s not alright for my mom or my dad to put me and my brother in
the middle, and I’m going to ask them to stop it." Age 14