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For Immediate Release: November 22, 2011

Volunteer Mediation Program Announced

Judge Hugh Flanagan Announces Creation of Marshall County Volunteer Mediation Program

Grant Awarded to Improve Child Custody Cases Through Mediation Process

Guntersville, AL - Marshall County District Judge Hugh Flanagan today announced the formation of the Marshall County Volunteer Mediation Program.  The Volunteer Mediation Program is aimed at improving the legal process for child custody cases, by giving families an alternative to a traditional trial.

“Child custody cases are often very difficult for the families involved, especially the children.  The Volunteer Mediation Program will give families another option through which to settle their disputes.  Our hope is that through the optional mediation process, children will be spared from the often adversarial and damaging process of a traditional custody trial,” stated Judge Flanagan.

The Marshall County Volunteer Mediation Program will be funded through a state grant secured by the Marshall County Legislative Delegation and run jointly by the Marshall County Family and Visitation Center and the Marshall County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

“As a lawyer in the community, I see this as a step in taking some of the burden off the court system.  In economic times such as this, it is important to make the courts more efficient and local retirees can be a valuable resource in that process,” said Representative Wes Long. 

The Marshall County Visitation and Family Center’s mission is to strengthen families through agency programs.  The Center provides parenting classes, fatherhood initiative classes and a supervised?visitation program that provides a safe and conflict free environment for children to visit with their non-custodial parent.  The Marshall County Visitation and Family Center provides services through the following programs; Visitation Program, Fatherhood Initiative Program, Mediation Program, Child Abuse Prevention awareness program, and Co-parenting classes.  The majority of these services are provided through court mandated referrals.

Marshall County RSVP is a non-profit organization established in 1972, that utilizes the vast talents of older volunteers willing to share their experiences, abilities and skills through community agencies and non-profit organizations in response to a wide variety of community needs such as education, community and economic development, health, nutrition, public safety, environmental, and human service needs.

Prior to becoming Marshall County District Judge in March of 2011, Judge Hugh Flanagan practiced law in Guntersville at the law firm of Long, Flanagan, & McDonald.  He and his wife Jessica have two children, Conner and Carlyle Grace, and attend Guntersville First United Methodists Church.


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