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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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