The Divorce and Family Law Roundtable, formerly known as the Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable, is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable educational organization, established in the early 1990’s by a small group of attorneys, judges and masters in the Circuit Court, mental health professionals and mediators all of whom were working with families experiencing the effects of separation and divorce. At the suggestion and encouragement of the Hon. Peter Messette who was at that time on the bench of the Circuit Court, this group of professionals began to meet on a regular basis with the goal of creating an atmosphere of collaboration in the professional community so that programs could be established to mitigate the negative effect on families of separation and divorce. This group recognized the destructiveness of litigation and of the often hostile relationships amongst the professionals who were working with families. The group also recognized that the needs of families and professionals could not be met through the Judicial system alone.
Since its inception the Roundtable has been meeting regularly every 6 weeks. Under the Roundtable’s auspices, members established the first court mandated parent education program for separating and divorcing parents, established a supervised visitation program for parents in need of such support, provided training for new judges through the Judicial Institute, and established a training program for Guardians ad Litem (now Best Interest Attorneys) which served as a basis for the current statewide program.
In addition, the Roundtable and its members provide public education about the well being of children and families in divorce and separation in many venues and to diverse audiences. These forums have included: educating the Maryland Legislature about pending legislation that would impact families dealing with divorce; sponsorship of an ongoing Brown Bag Lunch program to educate professionals about issues dealing with separation and divorce and to spark discussion about these issues amongst professionals; and numerous full day professional conferences dealing with separation and divorce. The Roundtable works closely with the Court system to establish programs that will be helpful to parents and children dealing with divorce.