How Effective Are Court-Affiliated Divorcing Parents Education Programs? A Meta-Analytic Study


divorce education, meta-analysis, parent education, social policy evaluation


In this meta‐analytic study, we looked at all empirical studies that examined the effectiveness of court‐affiliated divorcing parents education programs (DPEs). Overall, we found that DPEs were generally effective. Nineteen studies with a DPE treatment group and no‐treatment control group had an overall significant moderate positive effect (d= .39); those who participated in DPEs were about 50% better off in terms of program outcomes compared to those who did not participate. The studies examined five specific outcomes: co‐parenting conflict, parent‐child relationships, child well‐being, parent well‐being, and relitigation; with most of these specific outcomes we found significant moderate effects ranging from d= .19–.61. However, there were important methodological limitations in this body of research, which are discussed. While more research is needed to confirm the positive potential of DPEs, we probably know enough to justify continuing and even increasing support for this recent social policy innovation.

Original Publication Citation

Fackrell, T. A., Hawkins, A. J., & Kay, N. M. (2011). How effective are court-affiliated divorcing parents education programs? A meta-analytic study. Family Court Review, 49, 107-119.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Family Court Review




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor