As divorce rates rise, family mediation represents an alternative way of making settlements without involving an already overburdened judicial system. This book presents a discussion of the current North American trends in the burgeoning field of family mediation by featuring both a review of the literature and a model for family mediation practice. The practice model presented here, Therapeutic Family Mediation, stresses an ecological perspective, and considers the feminist critique of the mediation process. The authors also address mediation's role in the important issues of joint custody, ethnicity, and child protection. Future directions in family mediation are examined in the final part.
If they really want to fight, divorcing couples can fight about just about anything. In practice, some aspects of their experience are more emotionally charged than others. Couples can fight about money, but most divorcing couples have little, some none at all. Their possessions and especially the matrimonial home are sources of conflict, not so much because of their survival value, but because they have become imbued with symbolic meaning. Such meaning makes the relationship between the spouses an especially salient source of conflict. With marriage's inherent expectations of fidelity, loyalty, closeness, and trust, divorce is an all-too-public failure for many couples whose pain quickly transforms into anger. But it is the presence of children, more than any other aspect of marriage, ...