Predicting Outcomes in Divorce Mediation: The Influence of People and Process

Author: Thoennes, N.A.; Pearson, J.

Description: This paper explores the relative importance of perceived dispute characteristics and mediator skills for predicting the settlement of child custody cases. The cases studied were child custody and visitation disputes mediated in three different legal jurisdictions: The Los Angeles Conciliation Court; the Hennepin County, Minnesota, Superior Court; and the Connecticut Superior Court. Although the ability to predict mediation outcomes was limited, several significant predictors were found: the duration and intensity of the dispute, the quality of the ex-spouses’ relationship, and the perceived ability of mediators to promote inter spouse communication and to provide disputants with interpersonal insights. Dispute characteristics and perceptions of the mediators’ behavior were about equally useful for predicting mediation outcomes.

Subject headings: Disputes; Mediator skills; Mediation outcomes; Child custody; Case studies; Divorce

Publication year: 1985

Journal or book title: Journal of Social Issues

Volume: 41

Issue: 2

Pages: 115-126

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 563