Expert and educator in child custody mediation and collaborative divorce
A pioneer in social work and family law, David Kuroda has improved the outcomes for children of divorcing parents, both inside and away from the courthouse, by advancing the practices and effectiveness of Family Court Services and the field of collaborative divorce -a forum for out-of-court resolution of divorce and custody disputes.
A year before Kuroda earned his MSW at USC in 1972, California passed the first no-fault divorce law in the country. Ten years later, the state required mediation services for all divorce cases involving children. For 18 years, Kuroda worked with Family Court Services in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, where he served as division chief and directed the Mediation and Conciliation Service, the first and largest court mediation program in the nation. He oversaw the county’s district court mediation programs, including the Parents and Children Together (PACT) program, and the Contemnors Program, designed to address solutions for parents with high levels of conflict and chronically in violation of custody and visitation orders.
Under Kuroda’s leadership, the court service set high standards for mediation and other innovative programs serving children and families. Kuroda introduced parent education programs, organized divorce education programs in several districts in Los Angeles County, and introduced technology to improve the infrastructure of the division. Recognized as a subject matter expert, he frequently analyzed legislation affecting family law and mediation, including acting as co-chair of the Legislative Committee for Family Court Services Directors Association. He also served as a member of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Legislation Committee and worked with judges, the state bar, and directors of family court services throughout California to draft a bill supporting a parent education program for families affected by divorce.
In 1999, after 27 years of public service, Kuroda left Family Court Services to establish a private practice focused on mediation and collaborative divorce. He co-founded and is a current member of A Better Divorce, an interdisciplinary group of professionals committed to the collaborative divorce process. He is also a member of Los Angeles Westside Collaborative Divorce Professionals (LAWCDP) and the LA Collaborative Law Association. Kuroda has personally provided mediation services to over 8,000 families. Social work professors and professional organizations have called on Kuroda to provide workshops and presentations in his area of expertise. He has authored “Child Custody: Avoiding Trial” as part of the Family Law Symposium Reference Book and frequently contributed articles to Family Law News and Review on issues involving mediation and domestic violence.
Kuroda’s work has been recognized by the NASW-California Chapter, which honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the George Nickel Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Welfare from the California Social Welfare Archives. In 2016, he received the Honorable William E. McFaden Award from the South Bay Bar Association, the first time a non-lawyer has received the honor.