The Interfaith Family Mediation Project

The Interfaith Family Mediation Project helps divorcing couples reach real solutions about the religious upbringing of their children. In keeping with the mission of DePaul University, the Interfaith Project offers parents the opportunity to resolve personal and sensitive religious issues in a manner that best meets the needs of their children and themselves. These issues can arise during the marriage, as well as at the time of the dissolution and post-judgment proceedings.

Experience shows that there are fewer post-judgment hearings when parents have agreed on a settlement than when a judge has decided the child-rearing issues. Mediation is a process that encourages a resolution by agreement rather than one rendered by a court.

The mediator facilitates settlement by providing a problem-solving atmosphere where communication can take place and the interests of all can be fully discussed.

Who benefits from this program? Parents who have unresolved issues on the religious experiences of their children may participate in the mediation to find mutually acceptable solutions. Among the issues commonly discussed are the religious education of the children and their participation in the religious services and holidays of their parents.

The key to success depends on the joint involvement of parents and clergy with the mediator. The Center makes available a panel of clergy volunteers who have participated in our training sessions on mediation of interfaith issues. Each parent invites their own clergy, or selects one from the panel, to be with them throughout the mediation.

The clergy participate in the mediation by providing answers to parents' faith questions and suggesting possible arrangements for their children. The final agreement rests with the parents. All parties sign a confidentiality agreement to encourage open communication.

Mediators for the Interfaith Family Mediation Project include:

  • Nancy C. Pascucci, Attorney at Law and Mediator
  • Katheryn M, Dutenhaver, Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law
  • Tina K. Cooper, Executive Director, DePaul University, and Mediator
  • Rev. Craig B. Mousin, University Ombudsperson, DePaul University; former Director of the Center for Church-State Studies.

For more information on mediation, scheduling, or other areas of the program, contact Professor Dutenhaver at kdutenha@depaul.edu.