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Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation Process, Models Of Mediation, Mediator's Role, Advantages Of Mediation, Disadvantages Of Mediation


Society, and the cultures that comprise it, change through time. The increasing prevalence of divorce is one example of change that societies and cultures experience. Data gathered on divorce in the United States indicate that approximately 50 percent of couples marrying can expect to divorce sometime in their lifetime (Coulson 1996). The divorce experience affects the parties divorcing, friends, extended family, and children. At the beginning of the twenty-first century numerous authors emphasized the effects of divorce and parental conflict on children (e.g., Coulson 1996; Twaite and Luchow 1996). Effects can vary from a decrease in self-esteem and increase in behavioral problems as older siblings are asked to be responsible for younger siblings or children being used as messengers or spies (e.g., report on parent's dating behavior). These are only a few examples of how divorce and continuing conflict may affect children. Efforts to mitigate the effects of divorce may include informal support systems such as friends, family, religion, or more formal support systems such as mental health professionals, the legal system and, in the last twenty-six years, divorce mediation. Divorce mediation, as a helping process, was formally created in 1975 (Emery 1995; Helm, Boyd, and Longwill 1992). Only after no-fault divorces emerged in the 1970s was the no-fault dispute resolution process of mediation possible. Divorce mediation (hereafter referred to as mediation) was originally conceptualized as an alternative conflict resolution strategy to litigation.

Many questions have arisen in mediation's short history, such as what mediation is, should be, its effectiveness, who should perform it and the training requirements of mediators. This entry will discuss mediation processes, common themes, and variations and trends, as well as the perceived advantages and disadvantages of mediation, including when necessary, commonly used, and contraindicated. Research conducted on mediation, including the assessment of these advantages and disadvantages, will follow with an examination of international perspectives on mediation as well as cross-cultural issues.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaDivorce