Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution


New findings about mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes give insight about their effectiveness and application in legal systems around the world.

A more complete list of research report about divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies published in 2015 or between 2010-2015.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Kaspiew, R., Moloney, L., Dunstan, J., & De Maio, J. (2015). Family law court filings 2004-05 to 2012-13 (Research Report No. 30). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. Read full publication

Trends in family law court filings over a nine year period provide insight about the impact of the court reforms that encouraged greater use of non-court mechanisms for resolving parenting disputes.  Results indicate a substantial decrease in court filings regarding child issues.  This report extends the findings of the 2009 study Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms.

Mediation

SABĂU, D., & SANDU, C. (2015)  Mediation: Styles Used in Cases Concerning Divorce. Conflict Studies Quarterly, 55.  http://www.csq.ro/wp-content/uploads/CSQ-12.pdf#page=55

In Romania alternative dispute resolution for conflicts between divorcing, separated or divorced couples have expanded rapidly.  This work looks at the mediation process and how mediators think about their work.

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Legal Issues in divorce


Improving how we handle divorce disputes remains an important area of research and policy analysis.

Murphy, J. C., & Singer, J. B. (2015).  Divorced from reality:  Rethinking family dispute resolution.  New York, NY:  NYU Press.  ISBN: 9780814708934

Law professors outline ways to improve our policies and procedures to help families manage their disputes in more effective ways.  They suggest moving dispute resolution services out of the court and into the community, involving children more effectively in the decision-making process and insuring more time and involvement with both parents in post-divorce parenting plans.

Li, K. (2015). What He Did Was Lawful?: Divorce Litigation and Gender Inequality in China. Law & Policy. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lapo.12034

An examination of gender inequality in court proceedings before and during the divorce process.  This study examines the China legal system.

Complicated Emotions such as Guilt, Shame and Regret May Effect Divorce


Guilt, shame and regret are common emotions that are experienced during the divorce process. Regardless of the circumstances of the divorce, both husbands and wives are likely to experience various amounts of these emotions. Anne Wietzker, Ann Buysse, Tom Loeys and Ruben Brondeel at Ghent University in Belgium have done some very interesting work in trying to understand how these negative emotions may influence the negotiation process between divorcing couples.  See my extended discussion on Huffington Post.

Parent Coordination Guidelines


“Parent coordination is  a nonadversarial dispute resolution process that is court ordered or agreed on by divorced and separated parents who have an ongoing pattern of high conflict and/or litigation about their children.”  APA, 2012.

This is the latest effort to provide more systematic and structured guidelines for professionals such as mediators, psychologists, therapists and attorneys who are providing parenting coordination for divorcing families who are unable to resolve conflicts.  One especially important aspect of these guidelines is an expectation that professionals involved in parenting coordination will work actively with other professionals who are involved in cases.  This is critical for families to not be buffeted by competing and/or conflicting advice from others involved in trying to help families manage or resolve conflict.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) has also produced a series of guidelines for parenting coordination.

AFCC has also produced guidelines and standards for divorce mediation, custody evaluation and other court related services to children and families.