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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. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  2. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  3. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

  4. Sounds like overkill to me, too. Do the feds not have enough "real" crime to keep them busy?

  5. We live in the world that has become wider in sense of business and competition. Everything went into the Web in addition to the existing physical global challenges in business. I heard that one of the latest innovations is moving to VDR - cloud-based security-protected repositories. Of course virtual data rooms comparison is required if you want to pick up the best one.

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