Divorce Mediation: Theory and Practice

Divorce Mediation: Theory and Practice

Although divorce is essentially a matter of personal choice, its emotional aspects are necessarily entwined with legal dynamics, making decisions about divorce a matter of both the heart and the law. Consequently, feelings become facts that must be accommodated in the divorce process in order to reach a viable lasting result. Divorce mediation, an alternative to traditional judicial intervention and third-party decision making, facilitates private negotiation and takes into account emotional as well as legal dimensions of marital dissolution. This process empowers divorcing couples to be actively involved in making the choices that will affect their lives for years to come. The divorce mediator acts as a neutral party who promotes decision making with the family and helps divorcing couples to develop their own parental, financial, and property arrangements.

Because divorce mediation views divorce as a multidimensional process that involves both legal and psychological matters, it has attracted professionals from both fields who wish to facilitate a less adversarial approach to the dissolution of a marriage. DIVORCE MEDIATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE fills the currently unmet need for a comprehensive treatment of this burgeoning field. Editors Folberg and Milne, both nationally recognized authorities, have compiled an interdisciplinary state-of-the-art work on divorce resolution. Leading practitioners have contributed chapters which define the theory of divorce mediation, and outline techniques and strategies, as well as ethical considerations and constraints, standards of practice, and policy issues. Current results and forthcoming research findings on such important and controversial matters such as mediation’s role in domestic violence disputes are also included.

The volume opens with a lucid discussion of theory and practice, the nature of divorce disputes, and methods for achieving settlements. It goes on to offer a detailed overview of the psychological and legal dimensions to be considered. Next, organizational settings in which divorce mediation occurs, namely courts-of-law, private practice, agencies, and organizations are discussed. The implications of divorce mediation for such complex areas of dispute as child custody and financial agreements are vividly conveyed. The process of engaging couples in constructive communication and reducing irrationality is fully explored in the chapters on power balancing, communication strategies, and techniques to break impasses. Legal and ethical issues discussed include liability of divorce mediators, confidentiality and privilege, and standards of practice. The book closes with comprehensive coverage of research results, a longitudinal comparison of mediated versus adversarial divorce, and an in-depth descriptive analysis of common divorce mediation behaviors.

This groundbreaking volume brings together a wide range of noted practitioners and researchers in this dynamic discipline to produce the singular interdisciplinary, comprehensive work on this subject to date. DIVORCE MEDIATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE will be an indispensable tool for mediators, therapists, social workers, lawyers, educators and other dispute resolution professionals. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with empowering couples to determine their own mutual and individual responsibilities, and rendering the process of marriage dissolution more cooperative and humane.

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