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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99279 Find in a Library
Title: Public-Sector Mediation - A Report From the Courts
Journal: Mediation Quarterly  Issue:8  Dated:(June 1985)  Pages:47-56
Author(s): M A Duryee
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper compares court-connected divorce mediation services with private mediation and outlines some of the major controversies and a few of the dilemmas, with attention to California's court-connected mediation system.
Abstract: Court-connected systems of public mediation have arisen out of the belief by court professionals that an adversarial structure for resolving family disputes is not as effective as a mediation structure. Generally, most public mediation services focus on child custody and visitation issues, leaving financial issues to the attorneys and the court. Although public mediation is not intended to be therapy, public mediators are generally mental health professionals so as to facilitate their dealing with underlying psychological issues in disputes. Some mediation systems exclude couples manifesting violence and severe pathology; however, the mediation structure has been successful in reducing violent behavior, which is often occasioned by the frustrations and sense of powerlessness occasioned by the adversarial court system. In difficult disputes, the measure of success may not be the achieving of an agreement but the facilitating of communication between the parties and reduction of tension. Major areas of controversy associated with public mediation are the value of mandatory mediation (California has mandatory mediation) compared with voluntary mediation as well as confidentiality in public mediation. Opponents of mandatory mediation are concerned about its limiting access to legal process and the coercive element of court-connected mediation. Confidentiality issues pertain to whether or not the mediator should make a recommendation to the court and whether or not client revelations in mediation sessions can be subsequently used in court proceedings. Four references are listed.
Index Term(s): California; Child custody; Divorce mediation; Family courts
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