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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98058 Find in a Library
Title: Custody Mediation Services of the Los Angeles Conciliation Court - Case Study (From Final Report of the Divorce Mediation Research Project, 1984 - See NCJ-98054)
Author(s): M Little; N Thoennes; J Pearson; R Appleford
Corporate Author: Assoc of Family and Conciliation Courts
Research Unit
United States of America
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: Assoc of Family and Conciliation Courts
Denver, CO 80218
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20447
Grant Number: 90-CW-634
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case study describes the history of the Los Angeles Conciliation Court, discusses the mediation process and sessions, examines the staff of the court, and highlights the reactions of users and of the judicial and legal communities.
Abstract: The Court was established in 1939, but its future was not secure until the passage in 1980 of Senate Bill 961. This bill mandated that custody/visitation disputes be mediated and increased the marriage license, divorce filing, and modification fees to support California's conciliation courts. In 1981, the Family Law Department, in which the Los Angeles Conciliation Court is housed, processed over 45,000 divorce filings and almost 15,000 modifications. Few cases involving contested child custody and visitation escape a mediation attempt. Typically, cases unresolved in mediation are referred to either the court's child custody investigators or to psychiatrists. The Court's staff consists of a director, 2 principal family counselors, 17 family counselors or mediators, and 9 clerks and secretaries. Although counselors work under a great deal of stress, most are highly satisifed with their jobs. Results of questionnaires administered to, and interviews conducted with, 370 clients at the Central Office of the Conciliation Court from August to December 1981 indicate that nearly 70 percent were glad that they had tried mediation. Judicial support is evidenced by California judges' attendance at conferences on mediation and by their testimony in favor of making the process mandatory. Most attorneys involved with the process have positive feelings about it. The appendix contains two sample mediation cases.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; California; Case studies; Child custody; Conciliation courts; Mediation
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