November 20, 2009 | The Plain Dealer on

s a recently retired court magistrate, I wish to commend the recent efforts of the Domestic Relations Division of our Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for its strides forward in developing the use of mediation in the contentious area of child custody and visitation.

The Plain Dealer has covered extensively the worst-case scenarios of clogged court dockets and clashing parties litigating family disputes over unconscionable stretches of time. The public also needs to know concrete action is being taken by the court, such as utilizing training from the Supreme Court of Ohio, to build mediation skills throughout the court. Last week, more than 20 magistrates and court personnel participated in five days of intensive training. Judges Diane Palos and Kathleen O’Malley also attended.

As noted in The Plain Dealer Nov. 11, Judge Palos has devoted more than two decades to similar continuing education programs impacting children’s lives.

The perception that divorce cases in Cuyahoga County are assigned to purgatory with unreasonable delays is an alarm bell this newspaper has addressed. A bell of applause should also be sounded to recognize that the court is moving forward in its appreciation of alternatives to rigid and costly court battles of a protracted nature. This progress is good for our citizens and for the children whose own parenting skills may hang in the balance as they mature. Diane S. Schwartz, Shaker Heights Schwartz is an attorney with Schreiber, O’Donnell & Schwartz, Mediators, LLC.