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.


As a function of their background, practitioners view separation and divorce from one of two perspectives. Those with legal training tend to adopt a structural perspective in which divorce is seen as a legal event shaped by the contingencies associated with current statutes. Thus, mediation will revolve around the resolution of issues associated with custody and access, the distribution of chattel, and the size and nature of financial support. These issues are also relevant to those with therapeutic training. However, the latter will be more inclined to adopt a psychological perspective in which divorce is seen as a personal process. Thus for them mediation will focus, at least in part, on dealing with feelings, resolving lingering attachments, coping with stress, and the like.

With the ...

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