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New program to study mediation in custody disputes

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A joint project between the University of Notre Dame Law School’s legal aid clinic and the College of Arts and Letters’ Center for Children and Families will examine the effectiveness of mediation in child custody disputes – specifically the success of educational programs required by the courts and whether the type of mediation used makes a difference.

Margaret Brinig, the law school’s associate dean for faculty research, is one of the project’s principal investigators. She said little follow-up research has been conducted about whether mediation works in custody disputes.
 
“We know how many cases go to court, but we don’t have any good measures on people’s satisfaction with how much they learned, or whether or not mediated agreements work better than litigated outcomes over the long run,” Brinig said.

The project will test the success of education about healthy ways of resolving conflict and whether success is impacted by who serves as mediators – student lawyers or a combination of lawyers and other professional students like psychologists or social workers.

“We’re dealing with custody disputes that are referred to us by the courts here in St. Joseph County,” Brinig said. “They’re either couples who are divorcing and can’t resolve custody themselves, or they’re paternity actions where the couple has never been married, perhaps never lived together.”

Parents will be randomly assigned to a control group or to a treatment group. The control group will complete the normal requirement: watching a film about the negative effects of parents fighting in front of their children and other issues in the post-separation parenting process. The treatment group will participate in a psycho-educational program about conflict management. Both groups will undergo mediation through the legal aid clinic’s mediation program.

Michael Jenuwine, clinical professor of law and co-principal investigator, leads the mediators – law students sometimes teamed with social work or psychology graduate students. Participants will respond to surveys at various points in the study and their responses will inform future studies.

The study is slated to begin August 1. The project is funded by a research grant from Notre Dame’s Strategic Academic Planning Committee. Co-sponsors include the College of Arts and Letters and the law school. The law students will receive credit through the applied mediation course.
 

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  • Good Luck - NOT
    This is another "feel good" solutions to a very terrible problem. The problem is that one parent and her/his lawyer will never give in while the mediator will always pressure the other to be the better man and give in until he has nothing. Not even visitation rights. The other problem is that mediators often are corrupt and are influenced by intimidation by one lawyer.

    Mediation assumes that both parties are reasonable, want the best for their children, and have some intelligence. It ignores the vengful vexation of a woman who hides behind the fails of womanhood while exploiting the other.

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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