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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98060 Find in a Library
Title: Custody Resolution Counseling in Hennepin County, Minnesota - A Case Study (From Final Report of the Divorce Mediation Research Project, 1984 See NCJ-98054)
Author(s): A E Cauble; 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: 20
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
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the establishment of the mediation service in Hennepin County, Minn.; describes the mediation process and the staff; and highlights reactions of clients, lawyers, and mental health professionals.
Abstract: The mediation service originated in the Hennepin County Probation Service, where officers conducted custody investigations beginning in 1935. In 1956 and 1957, a specialized domestic relations division was established; in 1975, the division began to provide mediation services and, in 1976 formally adopted a policy to mediate contested custody cases. Today the domestic relations division consists of a director, a supervisor, 17 family counselors, 1 child psychologist, 2 case aides, and 5 support staff. Interviews with staff counselors reveal that most are very satisfied with their work and feel as though they are helping families in a constructive manner. Mediations are conducted by individuals or teams that are organized on an ad hoc basis. The staff shares a philosophical commitment to self-determination and views mediation as a self-determination process. Most counselors identify three phases to the mediation process: (1) eliciting commitment to the process and establishing rapport, (2) identifying and discussing problems and disputes, and (3) selecting and discussing the most attractive alternatives. Of 107 clients (between July 1982 and January 1983) who were interviewed by phone and mail on three occasions, most felt mediation was preferable to court hearings. Attorneys are impressed with the process and the mental health community is very supportive of it. The appendix contains a sample mediation case. Four notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Child custody; Divorce mediation; Family counseling; Minnesota
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