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NCJ Number: 99287 Find in a Library
Title: Mediation Versus the Courts in Child Custody Cases
Journal: Negotiation Journal  Volume:1  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1985)  Pages:235-244
Author(s): J Pearson; N Thoennes
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study surveyed the attitudes of participants in child-custody mediations to determine their views of the mediation process, the settlement process, compliance with the mediation agreement, mediation's facilitation of long-term cooperation between the parties, and the savings in time and money compared to court proceedings.
Abstract: This Divorce Mediation Research Project (DMRP) evaluated public mediation programs at the Los Angeles Conciliation Court, the Family Relations Division of the Connecticut Superior Court, and the Domestic Relations Division of Minesota's Hennepin County Family Court. At each site, a sample of clients who used court mediation services in late 1981 and early 1982 responded to questionnaires prior to the initiation of mediation, approximately 15 weeks after the first contact, and approximately 13-15 months after the initial interview. Slightly more than 450 mediation clients were interviewed at these 3 points. To provide a longer term perspective on mediation effects, researchers interviewed a sample of persons at each site who had mediated child custody about 5 years earlier (approximately 300 persons). For a comparison with those who did not mediate, the study administered questionnaires to a sample of 100 persons with contested divorces in Colorado in 1981. The majority of all divorcing parties rated the court system an unsatisfactory arena for settling disputes. Mediation users rated the mediation process more favorably in 1981 than in 1978. Satisfaction rates with settlement was high (75 percent) for those who mediated, and was only 30 percent for those in court-contested cases. Compliance, as measured by divorce payments and custody visits, was apparently not related to the settlement method. Respondents considered that mediation had saved them time and money compared to court processing. Five references are listed.
Index Term(s): California; Child custody; Connecticut; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Divorce mediation; Minnesota
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