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Mediation of post-separation parenting disputes : family mediators’ perceptions of reasons and remedies for post-separation disputes Saunders, Melody B.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to survey family mediators' perceptions of clients' reasons for post-separation parenting disputes, and mediators' remedies to solve those disputes. The study was looking for differences in the ways that professional family mediators work with clients, according to the mediators' background training, practice setting, gender and perception of spousal abuse. It was a descriptive study, with data collected by self-administered survey. A purposive sample of lawyer-mediators and mental-health mediators completed the survey. Survey results suggested that mediators do differ in their approach to mediating issues according to the selected variables. Mental-health mediators in this sample recalled a larger range of issues causing debates, and were more open to more therapeutic solutions to post-separation parenting disputes, particularly with spousal abuse present in the relationship. Lawyer-mediators in this sample were more cautious when dealing with spousal abuse issues, but overall, this group of mediators seemed to be approaching family separation issues in an increasingly diverse way. Research areas highlighted were education for service providers in identifying spousal abuse patterns, cause and effect of routine access denial, and the collateral effects of non-consensual co-parenting, including how this issue relates to the child support guidelines.

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